HYDERABAD: With water crisis looming large, conserving water bodies and involving people in the construction of rainwater harvesting (RWH) are the only possible methods to overcome the acute water shortage that the city is facing, experts opine.
Though there is a separate wing for rain water harvesting in Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board and the government making efforts to popularise rain water harvesting several times in the past, the actual situation at ground level has been different.
Barring few colonies and apartments, who have taken up rain water harvesting on their own, the concept of RWH structures has not caught up the attention of both residents and the government.
“We have taken up rainwater harvesting successfully at various places in Hyderabad. For instance National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) at Madhapur used to buy about 15 water tankers in 2011. But after RWH structures were built, borewells have been recharged and they are not in need of any water tankers now. But many people are not aware about the impact of RWH. Those who are aware, are not bothered about it,” said Subash Chandra Reddy, a water conservation activist and founder of Smaran, an NGO working for water conservation.
Though rain water harvesting structures have been built at NIFT, Nature Cure Hospital, JNTU and in some colonies like Cooperative Bank Officers Colony, Laxmi Vihar Colony, Serilingampally, lack of encouragement or support from the government has been discouraging even those few, who have been concerned about it.
“We have taken up rain water harvesting in our colony four years ago. As a result our ground water levels have been recharged and we are getting water by digging borewells by just 185 metres. Though the GHMC promised financial assistance for building RWH pits, it was sanctioned after two years after much persuasion. Unless the government gives an incentive or makes it mandatory, residents will not take up rain water harvesting,” Ravindra Prasad Dubey, president of Laxmi Vihar Resident Welfare Association, Serilingampally, said. Though there are many instances of rain water harvesting showing considerable impact in recharging ground water levels, neither the government agencies like GHMC, Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) nor residents have been showing the required will.
But environmentalists stress on the need for taking up rainwater harvesting on a large scale as borewells have been drying up in almost all over Hyderabad.
“Most of the rain water in Hyderabad is going into drains and becoming useless as the whole city is covered by either BT roads, or cement structures and cement floor. We do not find mud flooring either in the homes or in apartment complexes or on roads. As a result borewells are not getting recharged. RWH is the only solution to this problem,” pointed out Subash Chandra Reddy.
Though it has been made mandatory that permissions to new constructions or of new water connections have to be given only if there are rainwater pits, this is not being put in practice.
When contacted J Satyanarayana, assistant director, rain water harvesting wing of the water board, said that though no incentives were given for taking up rainwater harvesting to residents or Resident Welfare Associations, RWH will be taken up on a priority basis in the 100 day action plan being implemented for Hyderabad.
“Resident Welfare Associations can approach HMWS&SB if they want rainwater harvesting pits to be laid in their areas. We will dig pits and give them technical assistance but maintenance has to be done by them,” Satyanarayana said.