Collector Sankar appealed to village panchayat leaders to save every drop of rainwater to help recharge the water table, while emphasising the need for constructing and maintaining rainwater harvesting structures in every building.
Inaugurating a one-day training programme on rainwater harvesting for the village heads from across the district on Thursday, he said, harvesting rainwater would also help in easing water scarcity, while improving the water quality.
He said a rainwater harvesting system built in a hutment at a cost of Rs 1,000 in an area of 100 square feet would be able to harvest around 17,000 litres of water per year (assuming 953 mm of rainfall for 50 days). A tiled house would be able to save 52,000 litres of water per year, while a concrete house would harvest around 1.74 lakh litres of water per year.
Vellore, with a total population of 39 lakh has around 17 lakh people living in urban areas and 22 lakh living in rural areas. In villages, the water requirement is nearly 12 crore litres per day — 55 litres per person. Out of the 20 blocks in the district, 14 have been categorised as over exploited (water extraction is over 100 per cent), three critical (90-100 per cent water extraction), one semi-critical (70-90 per cent extraction) and two blocks — Arakkonam and Kaveripakkam — are safe.
In the past ten years, except in 2005, 2007 and 2010, rainfall was below average, which pushed the water table down by 7 to 24 metres.
While the government departments such as TWAD board, PWD, Forest and the Rural Development were trying to revive water bodies, the participation of people in harvesting rainwater would do much to the overall water situation, he pointed out.