HYDERABAD: Rainwater harvesting (RWH) has been an age-old technique for conservation of freshwater and mainly for boosting groundwater levels, that one must have read about or heard since childhood. However, this simple and age-old technique of groundwater recharge continues to receive short shrift from the state government as well as residents of Hyderabad.
Two years back, the Municipal Administration and Urban Development department had released a Government Order(GO), GO Rt 427, on June 10, 2016, on constitution of a committee of seven persons to monitor the compliance of an earlier GO released in 2000 by the then Andhra Pradesh government, GO MS 350.
The committee was constituted after Hyderabad High Court had issued a directive to Telangana government to constitute a committee for monitoring implementation of GO MS 350 and to make further suggestions on its implementation. It had also directed that the committee to present an action plan for implementation of the GO, which the committee had prepared and submitted to High Court.
However, apart from convening a meeting of the committee on June 25, 2016 and conduction of awareness programmes, there has not been much progress on monitoring and enforcement. The GO MS 350 mandates that every house in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation(GHMC) should have a rainwater harvesting pit and had also mandated presence of rainwater harvesting pits in building plan for getting clearance.
Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board(HMWS&SB) used to provide financial subsidy to those who used to construct RWH pits, that has been stopped. United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations(UFERWAS), BT Srinivasan, said, "Although implementation of the subsidy scheme was not perfect, it did encourage many people to take up construction of rainwater harvesting structures."
He added, "HMWS&SB had promised to construct 10,000 rainwater harvesting pits across the city but it managed to construct only 3,000 pits."HMWS&SB, OSD, Rain Water Harvesting Cell, J Satyanarayana said, "Fore new constructions, the GHMC does not give occupancy certificate if the RWH structure is not constructed and water board levies 3-4 times the actual cost as penalty for providing water connection if there is no RWH structure. For old houses, officials of water board and NGOs working with us visit them and tell them about importance of constructing RWH structures."