Bangalore: After months of appeals, campaigns and warnings failed to impress residents of this tech hub to harvest rain water, a deadline has now been set with a threat to make them fall in line.
All structures - residential, commercial and office - built on a 2,400 sq ft area should install rain water harvesting (RWH) system by Dec 31 this year or face total stoppage of water and sanitation connections. The government will issue a notification in about a week`s time making failure to install the RWH system punishable with disconnection of water and sanitation connections.
The decision was taken Monday by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), the agency that manages water supply and sanitation in the city of 9.5 million people.
BWSSB officials say that tapping rain water is the only way to meet the growing demand for water in the city whose population has been increasing at a rapid rate.
The number of people in the city has grown by three million in just 10 years - from 6.5 million in 2001 to 9.5 million in 2011.
The growth is because of addition of new areas to Bangalore city and also the influx of people from other parts of the state and India as Bangalore has become an attractive place with various job opportunities, says director of census operations in Karnataka T. K. Anil Kumar.
The massive growth in population has meant the city facing a shortage of over 350 million litres of water per day.
Bangalore requires about 1,300 million litres per day (MLD) but the supply is around 950 MLD. The main sources are the Cauvery river water (885 MLD) and the Thippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir on the city`s outskirts (about 60 MLD).
The rest is met through over 7,000 borewells dug up across the city by the BWSSB.
The huge tapping of ground water has resulted in a steep fall in the water level, and in several areas, water is not found even at the depth of 1,000 ft.
Faced with such a bleak water scenario, the government and the BWSSB launched a massive campaign for RWH system installation and to begin with over 50,000 buildings in the city should install the system.
However, BWWSB officials say, only half of them have complied with and hence their move to set a deadline for all structures on 40ftX60ft area to install the system.
The BWSSB is also in discussion with Bangalore civic authorities (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or BBMP) to offer a two percent rebate on property tax for those installing the RWH system.
BWWSB chairperson P.B. Ramamuthy has said that he has written to BBMP commissioner Siddaiah to grant the two percent rebate and hopeful of positive response from the civic authorities.
In July 2009 the state assembly approved an amendment to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Act to make RWH compulsory in the city.
Under the amendment the BWSSB is empowered to install RWH systems if people do not comply and recover the cost from them.
The new law would be applicable for all new structures coming up on areas measuring 1,200 sq ft and above while in the case of the existing structures it will be applicable for those built on an area of 2,400 sq. ft. and above.