Even as the city slowly recovers from a year of severe water crunch, it has come to light that in the past eight years, only seven new constructions in the island city have installed rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems.
This, despite the fact that the island city's skyline has been rapidly changing, with central Mumbai regions like Lower Parel being the new realty hub of the city.
In comparison, in the same time frame-between June 2002 to June 2010, the eastern suburbs have had RWH systems installed in 483 new buildings while 1,161 new buildings in the western suburbs have installed it.
A 2008 notification made it mandatory for buildings having an area of above 300 sq m to have an RWH system installed, failing which an Occupation Certificate (OC) would not be granted.
Before the notification had come into effect, installing the RWH system was mandatory only for buildings having an area of above 1,000 square metres.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation figures show that about 283 building plans had been approved from 2002 to 2010, out of which only 7 had been granted OCs.
Officials attribute this to two factors. One of which points to the fact that the big ticket projects in south Mumbai could have been built without an OC.
Said a senior civic official, on the condition of anonymity: "One reason could be that the figures haven't been collated properly and thus, are skewed. The other could be that the buildings have come up without an OC — a common practice with many developers."
Suprabha Marathe, in-charge of the BMC's rainwater harvesting cell, doesn't believe that it's lack of awareness that is driving such low figures. "There has been awareness among the people because we keep getting frequent enquiries. The onus is on the developer, who might not be very keen on installing it."
What baffles civic officials is that they were expecting more buildings to come under the scanner after the notification.
Geologist SK Gupta, who had been appointed a consultant to study the city's groundwater table said: "Developers aren't taking a chance as the BMC has become strict about not issuing OCs without having RWH systems."