As India suffers from drinking water crisis triggered by depleting ground water sources, a practical solution —rainwater harvesting — has remained mostly on paper in most states.
In perennially parched Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, rain water harvesting was made mandatory in 2008. Six years down the line, the ground reality has not changed much in the absence of an effective monitoring mechanism.
“Any application for sanction of building map has to be accompanied by a drawing showing provision for rooftop rainwater harvesting (RWH),” said chief town planner of Lucknow Development Authority JN Reddy.
But, the reality is that once the building plan is approved, there is no effective check in place to ensure compliance.
The state’s ground water department, which is responsible for carrying out mass awareness campaign in the regard, had just been allotted a shoestring budget of Rs 30 lakh in 2015-16. Of this too, the department has managed to spend just Rs 4.03 lakh by January 2016.
In Maharashtra, while the Mumbai civic body had made it mandatory for all new constructions above 300 square metre to install rainwater harvesting system, just 1,848 buildings out of an estimated 5,000 new constructions adopted the technique. Similar is the story in one of the most planned cities in India -- Chandigarh. In 2008, RWH was made mandatory for houses of one kanal (around 506 square metre) and above, but nearly 40% of government buildings do not have the system.
In neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, rain water harvesting was made mandatory in 2013 but it suffers from the same malaise of poor implementation.
The silver lining is states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu where rain water harvesting was implemented in right earnest resulting in improvement in ground water situation.