Chandigarh gets serious about harvesting rainwater

By Alkesh Sharma, IANS
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

CHANDIGARH - Owners of big houses and offices in Chandigarh should get set for some serious rainwater harvesting. The city administration is big on the idea to solve the water scarcity problem and is moving way before the next summer in 2011.

The estate office has directed owners of residential and commercial buildings that are spread over 500 sq m or more to install rainwater harvesting systems in their premises by Dec 31, failing which strict action will be taken against them.

Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar told IANS: “Over the last few years, we have observed that Chandigarh faces water scarcity problems in summer.”

“Rainwater harvesting could be one of the most effective and pollution-free ways to address the problem. We want people to cooperate and install rainwater harvesting systems in their premises,” he said.

“It is a very hassle-free process and the administration is ready to provide technical and other help to people. This city has received a good rainfall this year and if we can tap this natural resource in future, we will be able to meet the water demand to a large extent,” said Kumar.

The estate office had earlier issued a notification about installing rainwater harvesting systems in October 2008.

At that time, all existing buildings were supposed to get the system installed within two years from the date of notification, but there was a lukewarm response, said an official.

The new proposal has an in-built provision for penalisation in the event a property owner fails to meet the deadline, he said.

The administration has also appealed to owners of smaller houses and plots to volunteer for installing a rainwater harvesting system so that the city’s water table could be replenished.

The city has a population of about one million people.

The administration, on its part, is installing rainwater harvesting systems in seven government buildings at an estimated cost of over Rs.1.21 crore ($270,000).

These include the government colleges in Sector 46 and Sector 11, the Deluxe Building in Sector 9, Paryavaran Bhavan in Sector 19, the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a skating rink in Sector 10.

“Rainwater harvesting systems have already been installed at the state judicial academy in Sector 43, the union territory guest house in Sector 6 and government college for girls in Sector 11,” a senior official told IANS.

“The estimates of different government buildings comprising all government colleges, 42 government schools, 11 police stations, one police lines building are due for approval,” he said.

Chandigarh people are quite upbeat over the initiative.

“It is a welcome step. I have already installed a rainwater harvesting system in my home. It can certainly solve the water problem in the coming years,” said Ashish Vashisht, a lecturer.

Chandigarh was designed by legendary French architect Le Corbusier in the 1950s.

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