Project 2 lakh, deadline October 30: Chennai gets serious about rainwater harvesting

Corporation and Metro Water to fit rainwater harvesting system in two lakh houses. RWH structures to cost Rs 10,000-RS 15,000, to be even cheaper for old houses with wells.
Project 2 lakh, deadline October 30: Chennai gets serious about rainwater harvesting

CHENNAI: In 2003, the state government had set  August 31, 2003 as the deadline for all the buildings in the city to set up rainwater harvesting (RWH) structures. Yet, 16 years later, Chennai lacks basic infrastructure for water supply, leaving the city bone dry and residents scuffling over water. 

To address this, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) in association with the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) has embarked on a project to ensure at least two lakh houses are fitted with RWH structures by October 30. 

“There are about 12.5 lakh houses under the Corporation limits. As many as 1,000 large properties in each ward including bungalows, apartment complexes and commercial buildings that have suitable land for creating RWH structures will be selected for the project. The local officials will talk to the owners and ensure that the two lakh structures are equipped with either ring wells or percolation pits,” said the GCC official, who is working on this project.

The civic body is emphasising on low-cost, efficient structures, which will not cost more than Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000. In case they are old houses already equipped with wells, like in Triplicane and Mylapore, the cost of setting up the structure will be lower. 

According to data from CMWSSB, there are over 8.9 lakh rainwater harvesting structures in various buildings across the city. But, there is no update on the maintenance of the structures.
Training begins soon

“Though the contractors and masons have knowledge on construction, they may not be knowing nuances of rainwater harvesting. So after finalising the complete plan, training for them will begin next week,” said the official.

Apart from masons and contractors, assistant to chief engineers from GCC and Metro Water will also be trained for the purpose. They would be seeking the advice of Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD), founder of Rain Centre, Sekhar Raghavan - popularly known as ‘rain man’ - and the Environmentalist Foundation of India. The team from each ward that will get in touch with the owners of the properties includes engineers from GCC and Metro Water, revenue officials like tax inspectors and tax collectors, and resident welfare associations.

“It is ambitious to cover two lakh houses by October 30. But, we are confident it can be done. Once the project is completed, the impact can be felt forever,” said the official.

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The New Indian Express