The Noida authority is yet to come up with a ‘rainwater harvesting master plan’ aiming to stop rainwater wastage and recharge the depleting groundwater in Noida. The authority had first decided to prepare such a plan in 2009, but it is yet to materialise.
“The Noida authority had first approached me in 2009 to get the master plan prepared so that it could use rainwater to replenish the depleting falling water table. At the time, top officials had discussed the plan, but later did not get it prepared. In 2012, they again called me for the same job, but never showed seriousness in conserving the precious rainwater that goes down the drain every monsoon,” said professor Gauhar Mehmood, head of civil engineering department, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, which has prepared the similar plans for Ghaziabad and Gurgaon.
According to a 2012 report of the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), the water table had been depleting at a rate of 3.87 metre per year against the earlier one metre in Gautam Budh Nagar’s two largest blocks of Dankaur and Bisrakh between 2008 and 2012.
In a bid to check depletion of groundwater, the CGWA had in a 2015 report said a ‘one-family, one-house rule’ should be made mandatory in Noida and Greater Noida. However, it did not happen. The body felt such a measure would discourage indiscriminate concretisation in the two cities and increase groundwater recharge.
According to building regulation norms of the Noida authority, issued in April 2006, every building constructed on an area of 300 square metres (sqm) or more must have a rainwater harvesting system in place.
“We enforce rainwater harvesting norms effectively in every building more than 300 metres in area. Apart from this, we have rainwater harvesting pits in all parks and major buildings. We also keep raising awareness among people about rainwater harvesting to contain groundwater depletion,” said Deepak Agarwal, chief executive , Noida authority.
However, Mehmood said Noida cannot conserve enough rainwater even if harvesting systems are put in place in accordance with the Noida authority’s rule.
“Noida’s rule making rainwater harvesting mandatory in buildings of 300 metres and above is ineffective because 80% of the buildings are built on plots with an area less than 300 metres. With this rule, they can harvest rainwater in only 20% of the buildings. However, with the help of a master plan for harvesting rainwater, we can conserve a large amount of rainwater in Noida,” he said.