If you haven’t installed the rainwater-harvesting unit at your house yet, then cough up a huge penalty from December.
The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has decided to levy incremental penalty on erring property owners. The harvesting unit is a must in houses built on sites of dimension of 40x60ft or more. The rule applies to properties built in the year 2009 or earlier.
According to BWSSB, the penalty for the first three months is 25% of the water bill. From the fourth month, the penalty doubles.
Sources said the urban development department has approved a proposal in this regard, and will issue a notification soon.
BWSSB chairman TM Vijay Bhaskar told media that the board had identified 52,000 properties built on 40×60 ft or bigger sites to implement the rainwater-harvesting programme when the board announced guidelines in the year 2009. “About 45,000 house owners have complied with the rule. To get others on board, we’ve mooted the penalty. We are waiting for the government’s approval to our proposal. We’ll issue a circular soon,” he added.
The 2009 guidelines also mandated water-harvesting units for houses built on sites with dimensions of 30x40ft or more.
The board will soon conduct a survey to identify the properties which haven’t installed the harvesting unit. The board chief admitted violators could be in thousands. “During inspections, I found houses built on 30×40 ft houses, post 2009, not having RWH in place. This means our officials haven’t conducted proper checks. Once the survey is over, we’ll take action against the erring officers too,” he added.
Naga Bhushan K, a retired bank employee from Vijayanagar in southwest Bengaluru, said the penalty route won’t work if the objective is to fully realize RWH benefits. “The BWSSB is focusing on core Bengaluru area where groundwater levels are relatively better. Plus, most properties have a Cauvery connection. The BWSSB must look at developing areas beyond Outer Ring Road where groundwater levels have depleted. Irony is many properties in outbacks don’t have a BWSSB water link; how do you levy the penalty then,” he added.
Anupama Kamat, member of Jala Poshan, an NGO working on water conservation, welcomed the RWH initiative, but expressed skepticism about the penalty. “Instead of penalizing property owners where some may prefer to pay fine and continue with violations, the BWSSB must offer incentives to property owners who have installed the apparatus,” she added.
What is rain water harvesting?
According to BWSSB, Rainwater Harvesting is the process of collecting, filtering and using of rainwater, which falls on the rooftop (terrace or tile roof) and in the portico of the house. Rainwater harvesting can be adopted in three methods. These are; recharging of borewells near the house, recharging of ground water sources and collection of rainwater for reuse.