Thursday, July 29, 2010

Poor response to rainwater harvesting rule

Poor response to rainwater harvesting rule

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Only 200 building owners have installed the structures
Poor response to rainwater harvesting rule
S Lalitha, Bangalore, Jan 8, DH News Service:

Much water has flowed down the bridge since the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Act was amended to make Rainwater harvesting (RWH) compulsory in all new buildings and certain categories of existing buildings.

However, it is evoking a dismal response from the public, although half the duration of the nine-month deadline period has elapsed.

This is despite the countless street plays, interactive sessions with resident associations, free public workshops and pamphlet distribution programmes organised by the BWSSB since August 27, 2008, the date the amendment was incorporated.

Section 72A of the Act mandated that all new buildings of sital area of 1,200 square feet (30 x 40 site) and above and existing buildings having a sital area of 2,400 square feet (40 x 60) install RWH structures in their premises.

The deadline for complying with the Act expires on May 27 this year. According to a top BWSSB official, owners of all new buildings, roughly around 2,500 as on date (January 6), have made provision for RWH structures. “This is because BDA does not approve the house plan if RWH is not made and they are forced to adhere to the law,” he said.

The major problem is posed by owners of existing buildings. “It is proving very difficult to change the mindset of owners and make them opt for something new in their premises,” he said.

The sorry outcome is that only a minuscule percentage has opted for RWH, states another official. “Out of the six lakh houses that have BWSSB connections in the core BBMP areas, around one lakh fall under the 2,400 sq ft sital area category, which are supposed to install RWH structures.” The shocking aspect is that only 200 buildings have opted to install them, he revealed. “At this rate, there is no alternative in sight except an extension of the deadline date,” the official added.

There are no strict penalties specified for violators as on date, which ensures that building owners are not put under great pressure. “If the response continues to be poor, a review meeting will be held when the deadline expires and stronger measures considered to enforce them,” he opined.

Costs involved

The costs involved in putting in place RWH range between Rs 5,000 and Rs 50,000. The rate largely depends on the roof area of the house. A tank, filter and other minor equipments are required to implement RWH. Houses which have tanks already constructed or possess a water tank are in an advantageous position, since tank construction comprises the main expense, with Rs 5 being charged for every litre a tank can hold.

Public appeals

Meanwhile, letters from public expressing their inability to implement them are pouring inside BWSSB offices. The cost involved in installing the structures clearly seem to put off many owners.

Many letters appeal to the BWSSB to enter into a tie-up with banks so that some loan facility can be arranged for those who want to install RWH structures. Some of them have asked for subsidies for those who install the structures. Claiming to represent senior citizens, one elderly owner in Malleswaram had written thus, “The elderly are struggling to manage their daily lives with the pension amount, it is financially not possible to install them.”

Plumbers to get incentives for RWH

To motivate plumbers to carry out Rain Water Harvesting (RWH), the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has announced cash incentives if they attain specific targets.

Speaking after inaugurating seven models of RWH techniques at the premises of the BWSSB Plumbers Association at K R Road in Basavanagudi, BWSSB chairperson P B Ramamurthy said, the deadline to install rainwater harvesting structures in existing 60 x 40 houses expired on May 27. “Plumbers who are able to install RWH structures in 100 homes anywhere in the City between January and March will be awarded a sum of Rs 10,000.”

In addition, to that plumbers attached to each of the six divisions of BWSSB, who manage to install the structures in 50 houses will be rewarded Rs 5,000, he said.

Altogether one lakh houses which fall under the category must install RWH in their premises, he added.

The association’s general secretary Subbanna, president Shantappa and BWSSB chief engineers took part.

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