Vizag slow to act on rainwater harvesting

A severe water crisis is imminent in years to come.

Visakhapatnam: The people of Vizag and the local bodies are yet to take rainwater harvesting and conservation of groundwater seriously in a city that is witnessing rapid development. A severe water crisis is imminent in years to come, but thousands of individual houses and 10 per cent of the residential and commercial apartments in the city don't have the rainwater harvesting mechanism nor have the existing rain water pits been maintained.

Experts on groundwater say that Vizag, which will be poised to be a smart city, will face a ground water crisis due to exploitation of resources and poor conservation measures.

Professor of geology at AU Nandipati Subba Rao said that though Vizag received good rainfall during the South-West monsoon, when compared to other cities in the state, most of the precious rainwater ended in a runoff into the Bay of Bengal due to the lack of a rainwater harvesting system, which was leading to depletion in the groundwater table.

“Nobody follows the scientific methods for rainwater harvesting. For example, if the soil cover contains more sand, it can support the infiltration of more rainwater as groundwater. If it contains more clay than sand, that cannot help infiltrate rainwater as groundwater,” he added.
Around 7,000 of approximately 50,000 households implemented rainwater harvesting systems in houses and apartment complexes built over plots sized 200 sq m or more in 2012. About 45 per cent of the households constructed a recharge well or pit by August 2015, according to sources at the GVMC. Now almost 80 to 90 per cent of residential and commercial apartments have rain water harvesting pits (10 ft deep and of 9 sq m area). But a majority of the building owners have been ignoring the maintenance of the harvesting pits, which is leading to the runoff into the sea, said president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India, Vizag Chapter, G.V.V.S. Narayana.
Admitting that Vizagites had given least priority to rainwater pits, GVMC chief city planner of GVMC D. Venkata Ratnam said that the GVMC would have a meeting with all the stakeholders about the importance of rainwater harvesting in increasing the groundwater table.
Enforcement measures would also be taken up to prevent the precipitation of a water crisis in the future, he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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