BWSSB law tweaked to make RWH must for 30×40 sites


Rainwater harvesting, which was hitherto mandatory for sites with measurement of above 60×40 feet, is set to be made mandatory by law even for 30×40 sites in Bengaluru, as the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Thursday adopted a Bill in this regard.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Bill seeks to make rainwater harvesting compulsory for owners of sites with not less than 108 sq m of area. Earlier, only groundwater recharging was mandatory for new constructions on 30×40 sites.

Tabled by Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy, it seeks to reduce dependency on Cauvery water and groundwater for drinking requirements of Bengaluru city. Among other things, it proposes to reduce urban flooding and pollution of surface and groundwater.

The Bill proposes to manage the summer peak demand of water through groundwater recharging. It aims at providing fresh water source to Bengaluru city through rainwater harvesting in the areas where water quality is poor.

None of the MLAs from parties participated in the debate on the Bill and it was adopted without any discussion.

In its report tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had lashed out at Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), BWSSB, and other civic agencies for allowing high run-off of rainwater in urban areas leading to scarcity of water. It had said that about 73% of the city’s water demand can be met out of rain water.

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In 2009, the BWSSB made it mandatory for new constructions on any site measuring 30×40 ft to either recharge rainwater or store it in a sump or tank.

On the other hand, the guidelines made it mandatory for all constructions on sites measuring 60×40 ft, including those built prior to 2009, to have rainwater harvesting systems in place.

A.R. Shivakumar, water management advisor and former scientist, Indian Institute of Science, who drafted the 2009 guidelines on rainwater harvesting, said that with the new amendment, it appeared that even constructions on sites measuring 30×40 ft that predate the earlier amendment in 2009 will have to now adopt rainwater harvesting. Welcoming the move, he said it was time the citizens realised the cost of water. “Unless water conservation is made mandatory, people will not realise the importance of water,” he said.

Concurring, S. Vishwanath, groundwater and rainwater harvesting expert, said that earlier, the BWSSB Act mandated citizens to recharge or store 20 litre per sq metre of roof area. This was recently enhanced to 60 litre per sq m of roof area. “It is imperative for more citizens to adopt rainwater harvesting and install these systems in their homes at a rapid pace so as to reduce dependence on water supplied by BWSSB,” he said.



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Sagar Biswas

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