Img : indianexpress

Delhi Jal Board has taken an initiative to protect the vanishing water table level and announced that the properties with an area of 100 sq meter and more are required to have operational rainwater harvesting systems in Delhi. The DJB [Delhi Jal Board] also framed stringent rules to imply on the violators.

The board introduced amendments to the water and sewer (tariff and metering) regulations 2012 for the inclusion of rainwater harvesting provision. DJB also made waste water recycling in new properties compulsory. Under this rule, the new water/sewer connections will be sanctioned to the newly built properties only if they install an operational waste water recycling system to recycle the sewage discharge of more than 10,000 liters a day.

However, the properties constructed post 28th July 2001, are required to install the rainwater-harvesting system by the end of March next year. Similarly, the property owners of old units will get one year from the date of the public notice to implement the system.

The violators will be penalized with 1.5 times of their water bill amounts.

An official said that the post-July 2001 is set as the criteria because the provision to amend the act for the inclusion of rainwater harvesting was inducted in Delhi’s master plan during this month. Unfortunately, both the civic body and the consumers ignored the same.

As per the earlier law, the homes built on 100 sq.m. plots with rainwater harvesting system used to get 10% rebate on water bills. While a penalty of 1.5 times was imposed on the water bill amount in case the property owners with plots of more than 500 sq m and above did not have the same system installed.

The framed guidelines are strict enough to disconnect the water supply in case the installation of rainwater harvesting system is not carried out even after receiving two warnings, an official informed. The new plot layouts covering an area of 500 sqm will not be sanctioned to have new water and sewer connection in the absence of operational rainwater harvesting system.

The national capital city receives 617-670mm of average annual rainfall and this can be used to increase the level of ground water resources. Due to its wastage the Delhi Jal Board introduced the rainwater harvesting system and opened three rain centres. However, the citizens didn’t respond positively to the same.

The Delhi Jal Board data shows that 1,550 consumers have set up the rainwater harvesting system but more than 11,950 property owners were penalized for violating this norm. An official said that a penalty of Rs. 56.71 crore is imposed from July 1, 2017.

Prior to this, Niti Aayog raised the alarm about the reduction in water table level and had said that the same will vanish by 2020 (according to the present rate of exploitation). The environmentalists advised following of Tamil Nadu model of rain harvesting.