Chandigarh, May 31
the issue of augmenting the water supply from the Kajauli water works likely to become a contentious matter with Punjab in the coming years, the Chandigarh administration has finally woken up to the need for conserving water.

Soon, it will be mandatory for city residents to install rainwater-harvesting structures in their dwelling units.

“It was being made mandatory for plots of 250 sq yd and above. The provisions are being included in the building bylaws to be notified soon”, confirmed a senior official in the administration.

The clause will apply to all type of buildings like residential, commercial and institutional.

Mayor Pardeep Chhabra said the municipal corporation was also striving for adopting rainwater conservation measures.

The ministry of water resources has been repeatedly insisting upon the state governments and the union territories to undertake massive rainwater harvesting measures.

A committee, comprising officials of the engineering department, urban planning, estate office and other experts, is learnt to have recommended the mandatory provision in the building bylaws.

Reports of the central ground water board (CGWB) on the decreasing availability of ground water have also formed the basis of involving city residents in water conservation.

Studies conducted by the board reveal that water table in the city is depleting due to over-pumping and urbanisation. This results in more stress on ground water and decline in the water levels, particularly of deeper aquifers, which sustain the tube-well discharge.

The cost of the rainwater harvesting structure will have to be borne by plot owners. “The minimum cost to install a roof-top rainwater harvesting system costs around Rs 50,000. The cost goes up with the depth of the rainwater harvesting well,” said sources in the board.

It is, however, not clear if the existing plot owners will also be asked to install the rainwater harvesting apparatus.

“Instead of asking each plot owner to install the system, the project should be shared by a group of house owners and it should be installed at a common place. This will divide the cost and yield better results,” said CGWB officials.

So far, rainwater harvesting projects have been set up at eight different public places by the central ground water board with funding from the ministry of water resources are in bad shape. There are rainwater-harvesting wells in Leisure Valley, Panjab University and roundabout of Sectors 19, 27, 20 and 30.

Source: Rajmeet Singh Tribune News Service