Monday, September 28, 2009

Bill makes rainwater harvesting a must - Bangalore - City - NEWS - The Times of India

Bill makes rainwater harvesting a must - Bangalore - City - NEWS - The Times of India
Water scarcity has topped the list of concerns for a long time. Bringing some respite to this water-starved city is the
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Bill 2009, which makes rainwater harvesting mandatory in buildings.

But there is no time to sit and think. Both new and old buildings, houses and apartments need to have the system in place within nine months. Existing houses of 2,400 sqft and more, plus all new houses of 1,200 sqft come under the mandatory umbrella.

This could mean a huge saving of potable drinking water from Cauvery and groundwater sources. Unlike recycled sewage water that still hasn't been able to break psychological barriers, rainwater can be easily used for washing, cleaning, bathing, flushing and other uses. Currently, there are nearly 7.5 lakh BWSSB connections, and 4,000 to 5,000 new connections have been given in the past year.

But only 12,000 connections have adapted rainwater harvesting as of now, according to BWSSB figures. A huge task lies ahead to get the rest to have it fixed.

If you happen to have buildings of the size specified in the Bill but don't comply with regulations, BWSSB staff will come and fix the system at your house. The charges will be drawn along with your water bill.

"It costs between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 to set up a rainwater harvesting system on the roof. The cost varies, depending on the size of the house. If the house-owners fail to comply, then BWSSB, which is the monitoring body, will fix it. Within nine months, starting August, everything should be in place," said A R Shiva Kumar, executive secretary, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST) and principal investigator on rainwater harvesting.

An expert committee will be formed this week that will interpret the Act and spell out the regulation. "We will start with a campaign first. Architects, plumbers, masons and all others involved would be trained. We will go door-to-door and talk to people about it. Notices about implementation will be given after that. A help-desk will be set up by KSCST to address all the doubts of citizens. In each layout, we will organize awareness programmes so that they get enough information and get ready within the stipulated time," Kumar explained.

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