All buildings on sites measuring 60 ft by 40 ft, and all buildings constructed after 2008 measuring 30 ft by 40 ft have to adopt the system

Bengaluru if you want water and dont want to pay a fine start harvesting rainwaterImage for Representation
news Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 13:09

The relationship between Bengaluru and rainwater harvesting (RWH) goes back to 2009, when the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) made it mandatory in all households. But it has been a little over 6 years now and more than half the city has still not adopted the rain reaping technique.

However, the importance of the procedure seems to have submerged beneath mushrooming buildings. If every house in Bengaluru harvested rainwater, then the city might not be facing such a woeful tryst with water, according to experts. But citizens have thus far shown little initiative, forcing authorities to start penalizing residents who do not take up rainwater harvesting immediately.  

“With every household in the city equipped with rain water harvesting plants, it has the potential to meet 50 per cent of Bengaluru’s Cauvery water allocation,” says Vishwanath Srikantaiah, founder of the Rainwater club in Bengaluru

AR Shivakumar, Principal investigator, RWH, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, Indian Institute of Science declares that every urban city in the country is in dire need of the procedure. “People should not need incentives to build rain water harvesting plants. It is a responsibility that comes with the society,” he says.

With the Karnataka government having struggled with the initiative for the past 6 years, trying to get its citizens to construct the harvesting plants, through warnings and indigenous campaigning, they have now finally taken to penalization. Come the month of May, they will finally take to penalising residents.  “Come May 1, any house that has not fabricated a rain water harvesting plant will have to pay 25 per cent of their water bill as penalty for the first three months,” says S Krishnappa, chief engineer at the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to The News Minute.

According to Krishnappa, all buildings on sites measuring 60 ft by 40 ft, and all buildings constructed after 2008 measuring 30 ft by 40 ft are to adopt the system. “In Bengaluru there are over 1 lakh borewells that are exploited to unrecognisable levels by residents. That is an alarming number when the state is in the midst of a substantial drought,” Krishnappa adds.

Activists bemoan the fact that citizens require penalties in order to be goaded into action. “The laws are as effective as the citizenry wants it to be. There is only so much the government can do. However, we are an entitled society. We shouldn’t let them go to the verge of fining us. I hope it doesn’t get to that,” says Vishwanath.

While the government is looking at ways to essentially curb the reaping complication, citizens have time and again blamed the government for concretizing empty spaces. “While 65 per cent of the city is under private hands, only about 20 to 22 per cent comprise of roads. For people to blame the government for concretizing the roads, they must have at least done something on their part. Calling out the government for something we have not done is plain childish,” says Vishwanath.

It isn’t even as if the cost of setting up a rainwater harvesting plant is prohibitive, says Vishwananth. “A rainwater harvesting plant costs less than one per cent of what people spend on new dwellings. Cost is no excuse. An RWH plant can be as cheap as Rs 1500. At the end of the day, it all comes down to us,” he sighs.

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