Vijayawada civic officials turn a Nelson’s eye as citizens ignore rainwater harvesting

The VMC under the TDP government had passed a resolution during a council meeting that it was mandatory to include rainwater harvesting in the building plans to boost the water table in Vijayawada.

Published: 11th July 2019 11:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th July 2019 11:03 AM   |  A+A-

A rainwater harvesting pit covered with mud at VMC office.

A rainwater harvesting pit covered with mud at VMC office. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Despite experiencing water scarcity in several parts of the city during the summer season every year, residents of Vijayawada have failed to implement water conservation and continue to dodge Vijayawada Municipal Corporation’s (VMC) mandate of building rainwater harvesting (RWH) pits on their premises. The VMC officials have also turned a blind eye.

The VMC under the TDP government in May 2017 had passed a resolution during a council meeting that it was mandatory to include RWH pits in the building plans to boost the water table in the city. Though officials initially visited several localities and created awareness among the residents on the importance of implementing RWH techniques, environmentalists are of the opinion that the civic body failed in making a long-lasting impact.

Sources from the VMC estimate that over 80 per cent of the houses of the total 2.02 lakh property tax assessment lack the RWH mechanism. In 20 per cent of the houses equipped with the infrastructure, pits are not functional as somewhere the pipes have been damaged and elsewhere the recharge pit has been blocked after being abandoned for a long time.

“Over the years, Vijayawada has been experiencing drinking water crisis during the summer months as the water levels in Krishna has been depleting alarmingly. It is a wake-up call for the officials concerned to focus on improving RWH mechanism in the city by making the public realise its importance as it is the only solution for water conservation,” said environmentalist and Loyola College lecturer T Sri Kumar.

He also called upon the officials to inform the residents that RWH mechanism can be developed at an affordable cost and explain them about water conservation methods.

Speaking to TNIE, VMC city planner K Lakshmana Rao said that as per the norms, houses built in over 200 square yards area should maintain RWH pits on their premises and conserve water generated in it.

Since the May 2017 mandate, the civic body has made it a point to approve the building plans only after the residents make a provision for such pits.

“Most of the residents living in apartments and individual houses initially submit plans along with RWH pits and we approve the same, but we do not follow the development as our responsibility ends with giving approval,” he added.

Rao further said, taking a serious note of water crisis faced by the city during the summer, the VMC has been contemplating to launch a drive with the support of engineering department officials in the next few days, to verify whether the residents have been maintaining RWH mechanism as they mentioned in their building plans sent to the civic body. During the drive, the officials will highlight the significance of water conservation and ask residents to develop the mechanism if not kept already, he added.

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