Water scarcity, high-cost water tankers and tax rebate fails to promote rainwater harvesting in Pune
In spite of acute water scarcity around the year in many of the fringe localities of Pune, coupled with the high cost of dependency on water tankers, rainwater harvesting has received a poor response from housing societies.
During the past summer, a number of housing societies purchased tanker loads of water at rates ranging from Rs 1,200 (housing colonies) to Rs 2,500 (builders and industry). Non-potable water drawn from private wells and borewells sold for about Rs 800 per tanker. There was also the additional dependency on bottled water for drinking purposes, purchased at Rs.50 to Rs. 70 per bottle of 20 litres.
In view of this situation, numerous seminars and workshops have been held in the city to promote (RWH) and also avail of the 5% water tax rebate offered by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) as incentive. However, the response has remained lukewarm.
“Rain water is considered to be the purest water available on earth. We get this water free of cost, therefore it is our prime duty to use this water to optimum level and then find other sources for further use,” said Vijay Limaye, a mechanical engineer and RWH expert and consultant. According to him, there are many queries from housing societies, but few come forward when it comes to implementation. This is largely because of lack of unanimity among residents in housing societies, he said.
Since 2005, the PMC has made it mandatory for large societies to implement RWH, solar power and vermicompost within their premises, and in turn, benefit from a 5 per cent tax rebate in the property taxes.
“ We have also given suggestions for various methods of doing RWH, including creation of soakpits using basic methods. However, the response has been slow,” said Rajendra Raut, DESIGNATION FROM PRACHI building permission department.
On its part, the civic body has got RWH done for 74 of its buildings including schools, hospitals and offices.
On the other hand there have been examples of housing societies which have benefitted by implementing RWH. One prime example is Roseland Residency at Pimple Saudagar where all the 30 buildings now have RWH with integrated underground tanks.
Housing societies embrace RWH, hope for savings on water tanker costs
Kumar Kruti, a housing society with 400 flats in Kalyani Nagar, Mrunali in Orion Complex, Aundh Road, Saidatt Residency at Baner and five buildings of Roseland Residency at Pimple Saudagar are among the housing societies that have implemented rainwater harvesting (RWH) this season.
Aishwarya Residency at Kaspate Wasti, Wakad installed RWH in 2016. “We were paying a lot for water tankers and were completely relying on them for daily water. Hence the 97 flat holders decided to spend ₹4 lakhs and get rain water harvesting implemented. It has helped reduce our water expenditure,” said Satyam Kumar Singh, Chairman, Aishwarya Residency.
Amit Joshi secretary, Saidatt Residency, Baner, said, they went meticulously with shortlisting the consultants and doing the final selection. “We implemented a cost effective solution with the help of our regular plumber. We covered two terraces with two filters. The entire cost of implementation came to around ₹45,000,” Joshi said..
S N Iyer, chairman of Mrunali, one of the seven buildings with 40 flats in Orion Complex, Aundh Road said the implementation was undertaken just before the monsoon this year in view of the severe water problem that the building faced during the summers. “We decided to opt for RWH which cost us ₹83,000,” he said.
Dr Urvashi Shrivastava, member of the Kalyani Nagar Residents Association (KNRA) strongly advocates the RWH system. Last year through KNRA, a RWH meeting was conducted in which the chairman and secretaries of the various societies of Kalyani Nagar were invited. She recently connected more pipes to a dry well to fully utilize the rain water.
“My society is Kumar Kruti with 400 flats in Kalyani Nagar. The society went in for RWH last year. We have now become tanker water free. This year, in the second phase of RWH, the society has connected more pipes to a dry well (a bore was dug last year but it did not yield any water) . This has been done to save rain water from being wasted in the hope that even if it does not yield water now, at least this will fill up underground aquifers. Filling up the underground aquifers helps not only the society which has done this but also the nearby societies.”
Roseland Residency, in Pimple Saudagar too opted for RWH in parts. “We were tired of facing a constant shortage of water in summers,” said Siddharth Naik, treasurer of this society which has been proactive on a number of eco-friendly fronts.
Spread over 12 acres, this society of over 1000 flats has more than 2,500 residents and the water requirement is huge. It has been implementing RWH in a phased manner since 2008.The last of the five buildings implemented RWH this year.
“The total daily demand of water in the society is 10 to 12 lakh litres, while we receive only 70,000 to 80,000 litres per day from PCMC. The rest of the water comes from our bore wells, which we recharge every year during monsoons,” Naik said. He said that the society has saved more than Rs 20 lakh every year.
Chaitanya Bhosekar, a RWH consultant said he gets 100 plus enquiries about RWH, of which about half materialize into actual projects. “Most of these requests are from areas like Vishrantwadi, Dhanori, Vadgaon Sheri, Pimple Saudagar and Katraj. These are the fringe areas where water supply is weak and unregulated. People are ready to invest in RWH because of high cost of water tankers; there are very few who do it for environmental reasons,” he said.