In a move to conserve water and increase groundwater levels in the city, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) has made it mandatory to construct rainwater harvesting pits for any new buildings that come up under its jurisdiction.
The municipality has decided that it will refuse permission for new buildings in the city, if they fail to construct rainwater harvesting pits.
According to The New Indian Express, the move came after VMC officials noticed that several builders had been violating the norm.
The VMC reiterated that it would neither approve the building, nor give an occupancy certificate, if builders flouted the rule.
“For new houses, we will ensure it is in the plan itself. Owners of the existing buildings will have to dig them. That is the only way,” VMC sources earlier told Times of India.
Ever since the rule was put in place earlier, the municipal corporation had reportedly given permissions to 2,500 buildings in Vijayawada, generating a revenue of Rs 7 crore through collection of fees towards the construction of rainwater harvesting pits, the TNIE report added.
With several parts of the state facing a water shortage, authorities said that the move would help in overcoming the issue.
Rainwater harvesting traps rainwater from roofs and directs it into underground storage tanks, and can reportedly help satisfy 50% of a regular family's water needs.
With the increase in population, Vijayawada has been witnessing rapid depletion of its groundwater levels. This is despite the fact that the city lies on the banks of the Krishna River.
According to Deccan Chronicle, groundwater was earlier accessible at a depth of 25 feet, compared to borewells at present that go up to 150-feet deep, and are not able to draw water.
However, this problem also can be resolved by constructing rainwater harvest pits, as it recharges the groundwater.
The Hindu reported that that rainwater harvesting can also be utilised by large manufacturing units that use a large volume of water, thereby reducing the load on groundwater.