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Societies in Pune struggle with non-functional rainwater harvesting systems

Residents allege that in some cases no pipelines are connected to the recharge pits or to the water collection tanks

pune Updated: Jun 14, 2019 15:11 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,housing societies,struggle
A rain water harvesting system at Saarthi Souvenir society, Mhalunge.(Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

Residents of several societies across the city, which have been fitted with rainwater harvesting systems by builders post 2004 after it was made mandatory, reveal that none of the rainwater harvesting systems are functional.

Residents allege that in some cases no pipelines are connected to the recharge pits or to the water collection tanks.

Several of the newly-merged villages, which see maximum number of upcoming residential projects, are facing acute water shortage and also defunct rainwater harvesting projects.According to residents, who have invested in such societies and are living in these areas, rainwater harvesting should be strictly implemented as an urban planning policy.

Residents living in Palladium Grand, Dhanori, allege that the completion certificate was given by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) without checking if the building has the rainwater harvesting system. “The builder put in place a rainwater harvesting system for Palladium Grand, but it has never been operational. The building department of the PMC is responsible for ensuring that builders put in place a functioning rainwater harvesting system in their projects. A positive sign is that residents and housing societies are now personally working towards putting in place a rainwater harvesting system,” said Arun Kumar, resident.

According to Ravindra Sinha, a resident of Baner-Pashan Link road, where many societies have built rainwater harvesting systems, the systems are not working. Sinha is also a member of Mission Groundwater and said that such structures can be deemed defunct after inspection and survey results indicate that the recharge system is unable to accept rainwater due to choked filters; if there are choked pipelines filled with garbage; if there is presence of silt due to non-maintenance; if the recharge borewell is unable to accept rainwater due to lack of aquifer or limited capacity of aquifers; if the recharge borewell is of incorrect depth and the design of structure is wrong or if the filtration system is of wrong design, inadequate or has collapsed.

Aditya Kumar Gupta, member of Sus Mhalunge Residents Association, said, “We have many societies in Baner-Sus-Mahalunge area, including a few commercial buidlings, but we are struggling with groundwater resources. In the new constructions, builders have provided with rainwater harvesting systems to comply with government norms, but in a few places it is not maintained and in some others, the results are not as expected.”

“We are still dependent on water tanker supply to get potable water, despite paying property tax to respective government agencies and gram panchayat,” he added.

Rupesh Manore, the civil engineer of the Saarrthi Group, said, “We have been providing rainwater harvesting systems at all our new projects in the past five-seven years following the government rule. There is no maintenance required for such systems as we only make boring pits and rainwater harvesting pits (of 20 metres of boring depth). These borewells are not for drawing water, but to increase the groundwater table. The groundwater table varies at various areas and if the residents want to use this water, then they need to have a borewell with a depth of 100 feet which will be of use for the society.”

Similarly, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) residents also face the same problems. “Rainwater harvesting or stormwater management is not known to many societies and is also not a part of society handover by builders,” said KC Garg, secretary, Pimpri Chinchwad Housing Societies Federation Limited. “There are several other problems - where such systems are provided, it is not working and when residents approach a vendor or service providers, they often misguide societies and quote higher amounts which discourage societies from investing in rainwater harvesting,” added Garg.

A resident of Malpani Greens in Wakad said that builder has provided a preliminary system, but now it’s choked up.

Sudhir Deshmukh, another resident, said, “The municipality should come forward and help societies at least in getting the survey done and help make the defunct systems operational through a cluster of neighbouring societies as a joint venture.”

First Published: Jun 14, 2019 15:11 IST