MCG sets June 15 deadline to clean rainwater harvesting pits
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has set a deadline of June 15 for its concessionaire to clean all 360 rainwater harvesting pits (RWHPs) in the city, officials said on Thursday.
The development holds importance as last year, the MCG was only able to finalise a contractor in the second week of July for cleaning rainwater harvesting pits, by which time monsoon had already set in.
Due to technical issues and disagreement over pricing, a contractor was finalised only after tenders for the task had been floated on three occasions. Hence, only 165 of the 360 rainwater harvesting pits in the city were cleaned last year.
To ensure that a similar scenario does not repeat, the MCG, in January, had appointed a private agency on a full-time basis for cleaning and maintaining all rainwater harvesting pits across the city for helping recharge the groundwater table. MCG officials said that all rainwater harvesting pits in the city have been built solely for recharging the groundwater table.
MCG officials said that the city experiences an annual rainfall of 600-700 mm and hence, they have set a deadline for the contractor to ensure that rainwater is not wasted.
In five years, from 2014 to 2018, the groundwater level in Gurugram has reduced by two-and-a-half metres, as per data available with the agricultural department’s groundwater cell.
“Since last week, the contractor has started work on cleaning the rainwater harvesting pits. The deadline has been only set in principle; the contractor has been directed to expedite the work and ensure all pits are cleaned well ahead of monsoon, preferably by the last week of May. Simultaneously, work on installing rainwater harvesting systems in public buildings has also started to ensure that the maximum amount of rainwater can be conserved,” said YS Gupta, additional municipal commissioner of MCG.
MCG’s contractor has started cleaning rainwater harvesting pits in Sector 46 on Saturday. Gupta said that Amit Sandilya and Dharamvir Mallik, both executive engineers of the MCG, have been appointed as the nodal officers for zones 1-2 and 3-4, respectively. The two officers will oversee the cleaning and maintenance of the rainwater harvesting pits by the concessionaire, he said.
Gauri Sarin, founder of Gurgaon Action Plan (GAP), a citizen body, which is working in collaboration with the MCG and its concessionaire to clean rainwater harvesting pits across the city and to identify more such pits, claimed there are around 1,100 rainwater harvesting pits in total. However, only 360 have been identified so far.
Sarin said that most rainwater harvesting pits in the city were created in the early 2000s when Huda colonies and developer areas had started to expand. She said that as per the Town and Country Planning (TCP) rules, HSVP and developers were mandated to install rainwater harvesting pits in colonies, plotted areas and condominiums.
“While most rainwater harvesting pits have been in existence since the early 2000s, most of them had been forgotten. They were lying wasted and over time, got covered underground, broken or filled with sediments and garbage. It was only when reports about the alarming decline in the groundwater table surfaced did the authorities take notice of the rainwater harvesting pits,” she said.
GAP and MCG had signed an agreement in March 2017 for reviving rainwater harvesting pits, said MCG officials. Through geographic information system (GIS) mapping, 259 pits had been identified in Huda sectors and villages falling under MCG. Around 100 more were later discovered during on-ground inspections.
“The 360 pits have mainly been identified in Huda colonies and villages falling under the MCG’s jurisdiction. In developer areas and condominiums, the number of pits is almost double. In DLF Phases 1-2-3, South City 1-2, Sushant Lok 1, Palam Vihar, and Suncity (colonies which have been taken over or are to be taken over by the MCG), there are more than 200 rainwater harvesting pits. Details of their locations and existing conditions were submitted by GAP to the MCG last week,” said Sarin.