Centre asks civic bodies to set up cell for rainwater harvesting

NEW DELHI, July 7: The Centre has asked all urban local bodies to set up a cell for effective monitoring of rainwater harvesting and revival of at least one water body in their respective areas.
The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has issued ‘Guidelines for Urban Water Conservation’, saying the ‘Rainwater Harvesting Cell’ of municipal corporations will monitor the extent of groundwater extraction and groundwater aquifer recharge.
This information should be displayed at prominent locations for public awareness, the ministry stated.
The guidelines have been issued as part of the first phase of ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ which began on July 1 and will continue till September 15. The second phase will start on October 1 and end on November 30.
In his first address in the second edition of monthly show ‘Mann ki Baat’, Prime Minister recently pitched for conservation of rainwater, saying there is a pressing need to make it a mass movement on the lines of the cleanliness drive.
According to the guidelines, urban local bodies (ULBs) will ensure that in future, all building permissions granted must have RWH (rainwater harvesting) structures incorporated as per building bylaws and the same should be checked before issuing Occupancy-cum-Comple-tion Certificate (OCC).
“ULBs should constitute a Rainwater Harvesting Cell which will be responsible for effective monitoring of rain water harvesting in the city,” according to the guidelines.
On the issue of revival of water bodies in country, the guidelines stated that water bodies, if revived, can store water and recharge groundwater besides improving amenity value of the area.
“Every city must initiate action to revive at least one water body during Jal Shakti Abhiyan.
“ULBs should identify all the water bodies in the city and select one for rejuvenation through public consultations,” the ministry said.
It said the concretization of urban public spaces such as roadside footpaths and walkways in parks has adverse effect on natural water percolation.
“Concretization increases surface run-off and restricts natural percolation of water contributing to urban flooding. ULBs should undertake de-concretizing of pavements,” it stated.
The Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) has identified 255 districts and 1,597 blocks across the country as water stressed, it stated.
According to the Jal Shakti Ministry, 756 ULBs have been identified as water stressed across the country.
The guidelines also advocate for plantation drives near water bodies, public spaces, parks and on roadside to improve green cover and water cycle. (PTI)