The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has failed to ensure that all developers and owners of new properties have mandatorily installed rainwater harvesting systems, now plans to change the definition of projects that would have to follow the norm. In its draft Development Control Regulations (DCR) 2034, the civic body has proposed to increase the area of plots supposed to mandatorily have rainwater harvesting systems from 300 square metres to 500 square metres.
It effectively means fewer new constructions and redeveloped projects will have to follow the norm. In 2007, the BMC had made it mandatory for new buildings above 300 square metres of plot area to install rainwater harvesting system.
The Hindustan Times had reported on Tuesday how almost a decade after the BMC made it mandatory for new buildings in the city to have their own rainwater harvesting systems, only one-thirds have installed it.
Between June 2007 and December 2015, 1,848 new buildings have got the systems on their premises. But according to BMC estimates, at least 5,000 new constructions were approved during the same period. It means only 36% of the new buildings have followed the norms.
What’s worse: The civic body has no mechanism to find out how many of the 1,848 buildings (residential/commercial) actually use the rainwater harvesting system.
The draft DP now states that the owner or society shall be held responsible to ensure proper functioning of the system.
It has also been observed that despite creating a provision for providing a 5% rebate to green buildings, which would have rainwater harvesting, the BMC has not been able to implement it.
As per the new property tax rules that came into effect from April 2010, the BMC had made provisions to provide incentives to green buildings. It means societies having rainwater harvesting systems, waste segregation, grey-water recycling and other eco-friendly mechanisms will be eligible for rebate.
However, the BMC has not been able to implement the provision, which would have encouraged many societies to undertake the mechanism, an effective means of saving water.
Officials said they have faced logistical difficulties to implement the provision. A civic official from the rainwater harvesting department of BMC said, “We are supposed to provide incentives after rating the societies. Different societies have different mechanisms for rainwater harvesting. How do we determine points then? Also, we do not know if the rebate has to given on a monthly or an annual basis.”
To work out the modalities, the civic body has setup a committee under deputy municipal commissioner of the assessment and collection department, BJ Pawar. “We are currently working out the modalities by which we can implement the scheme. Various departments are involved in the process,” Pawar said.
Dhaval Desai, a research fellow from Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Mumbai said the incentives could go a long way in encouraging citizens to take-up green initiatives. “BMC should not only implement the provision, but also create awareness so that more people benefit,” Desai said.