The Greater Chennai Corporation has sent notices to 9,000 houses without rainwater harvesting structures. The notices were reportedly issued after officials from the Corporation conducted inspections in around 2.72 lakh houses, since August.
Almost 70,000 houses that did not have rainwater harvesting structures, and notices have been sent to 9,000 in the first round. Since a lot of the homes identified without rainwater harvesting structures — especially in north Chennai — have wells, the Corporation has reportedly instructed its engineers to guide the residents to connect the run-off water outlets to the wells. Those who were served notices have been directed to set up rainwater harvesting structures in their buildings within 15 days.
Around 1.62 lakh houses that were inspected had rainwater harvesting structures in place, and around 38,000 needed minor repairs to the existing structures. The Corporation Commissioner has also instructed the inspection teams to set up percolation pits on the streets within a week.
Earlier in August, the government of Tamil Nadu had set a three-month deadline for buildings to install rainwater harvesting systems. The decision came after the government conducted inspections in buildings across the state and found that over five lakh buildings across the state did not have proper rainwater harvesting systems. The inspections were conducted in 14 municipal corporations and 121 municipalities in the state.
Tamil Nadu made rainwater harvesting systems mandatory in 2003 after the extremely dry years of 2001-2003. The state government’s order made it compulsory for all the buildings in Tamil Nadu to install systems to harvest rainwater in two months. In Chennai, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) issues a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for a building only if it has a rainwater harvesting structure in place. Despite this rule, the violations have been noticed.