The monsoon season is here already, but Panjab University (PU) has failed to put its rainwater harvesting project in place for more than three years now.
It was after the approval from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in 2009 that the varsity planned its project for rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge of groundwater in 2010. The Rs. 7.7-crore plan aims to harvest 54 lakh litres of water every year. So far, Rs. 5.43 crore has been released for the project, approved under a scheme of the union ministry of water resources when local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal held the water resources ministry (2009-2012).
The university construction department started physical work only in May last year through two agencies, one each for bore and construction work. Starting on May 7, 2012, the deadline was six months and nine months for bore and construction, respectively. However, the construction work is still not complete, having passed even its revised deadline of June 9 this year.
When contacted, PU executive engineer-1 RK Rai reasoned: “The work was delayed as we had to be careful with the existing pipeline network, and also because of the rains.” On a new deadline, Rai claimed the work would be completed “soon”. Assistant engineer Anil Behl sounded more pragmatic: “Rains have already started so work will be disrupted again. But we will be able to harvest the next monsoon.”
About the remaining grant, Behl said, “We have written to the CGWB.” Officials of the CGWB (north-western region) could not be contacted despite several attempts.
What's rainwater harvesting
It's a technology used for collecting and storing rainwater from rooftops, land surface or catchments for reuse or for groundwater recharge. Natural slopes and gradient aid the work.
What PU plans
·At 55 locations, PU plans 110 borewells, using 28 rooftops and 27 surface locations.
·Constructed in Sector-14 North Campus, units have capacity to harvest water at 10 litres a second.
·10 surface water units are along the wall adjacent to the Sector 14-25 road that can harvest maximum water due to natural slope
·Earlier, PU executed an artificial recharge project for Rs. 2.8 lakh in 2000-01