What’s Keeping Pune From Adopting Rain Water Harvesting ?

Rain Water Harvesting
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The severe water crises in prominent cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad only warns us of the imminent need for water conservation and rainwater harvesting…

But its implementation and installation of rain water harvesters are still major concerns due to lack of awareness, high cost, faulty methods and inadequate maintenance of already installed machinery.

In December 2007, the ciivic authorities made it mandatory to install rainwater harvesting systems in all plots of 3000 sqft or more, however little impact was seen on the ground and  the dependence on water tankers continue…

For the record, property taxes are given a five per cent rebate on installation of rain water harvesters.

A recent news report suggested that the tanker business in Pune has grown to an estimated 100 crores catalysed by the infinite short supply of water by local authorities.  

“Rainwater harvesting is definitely a solution to the emerging problem of water scarcity, but the one-time cost is really high, says Nitin Prabhu, a Kondhwa resident. “Moreover, it is the builder who should have done it in the first place.

“Even if we gather funds and attempt to set-up one, not everyone wants to contribute, and the entire burden then again falls on the volunteers which is huge. Though it will benefit everyone in the long run.”

Milind Khadilkar, a rainwater harvesting expert and a resident of PCMC believes that keeping in mind the growth in the city’s population that is expected in the next 5 years, both PMC and PCMC won’t be able to supply us water at all.

Pune is almost entirely dependent on Khadakwasla and Pawna dams, but what will we do if these sources are unable to supply enough water year round?

We have already faced this several times and the supply had to be decreased to just two hours of corporation water, as compared to four hours in the last decade.

“Rain water harvesting has been made compulsory, yet, people are not accepting it since there is no direct visible benefit that is visible to them.

People aren’t willing to spend even small sums of money for the installation of the harvesters. The lack of social awareness and the habit of using what is available sans worry on its replenishment, is the norm today.

“The cost also depends on the kind of harvesters we install. If we install landscape rainwater harvesters, it is more beneficial and cost effective, since the entire water will go underground.

The entire cost comes to only Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 which is affordable for a society of 150 residents. It is very easy to install too, but people do not have enough time and inclination to understand these things.

“Water harvesting must be carried out in every society as thanks to all this concretisation, rain water is unable to seep into the ground and hence cannot help recharge the ground water table.

“The authorities have to do constantly check on truant societies and ensure it is implemented strictly, even if that means punishing the defaulters.”

“Rain water harvesting is really a cost effective method,” quotes Colonel (Retd) Shashikant Dalvi, Rainwater Harvesting Expert and Environmentalist.

“Every place has a rain water potential. For instance, Pune recieves around 75000 liters of rain water in a catchment area of 1000 sq ft. Mumbai gets around 3,00,000 liters per 1000 sq ft & so on. Also, each type of infrastructure that is built will have a catchment area like the roof top.

“Down take pipes are provided to remove roof top rain water. One has to only channelise this rain water through bore / open wells to recharge ground water.

“Most of the civic bodies and governments have guidelines for rain water harvesting. Government of Maharashtra in its GR dated Feb 2002 for Roof Top rain water harvesting, gives all drawing details to undertake rain water harvesting systems.

“In Pune too, guidelines were issued by the PMC in 2007 making RWH mandatory for all buildings. However, thanks to the faulty and poor implementation on ground, such schemes ended up falling short of expectations.

“Only an acute water crisis will wake up citizens and the local authorities. Our cities like Shimla, Bangalore, Hyderabad and most of the rural areas are today facing a severe water crunch despite the good rainfall,” adds Colonel Dalvi.

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Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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