Penalties for not implementing rainwater harvesting may double

Of 1.95 lakh consumers, around 72,000 are yet to comply with the rule

Citizens who are yet to install rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems may have to cough up double the penalty amount.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has proposed to increase the penalty. For domestic consumers, the penalty on the water bill will be increased from 25% to 50% for the first three months, and 100% after three months; and for non-domestic consumers, the penalty would be increased to 100% from the earlier 50% for the first three months, and 200% after three months.

BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath said, “On Wednesday, the Board took a decision to double the penalty. We will write to the government about the decision. Once the government comes out with a notification, the same will be implemented.”

It may take two months for the new rules to come into effect.

BWSSB Engineer-in-Chief Kemparamaiah said the total number of consumers is around 1.95 lakh of which around 72,000 are yet to comply with the rules.

“Groundwater is depleting rapidly. This year, 25% of the borewells have gone dry. Despite giving enough time, over 72,000 consumers have not complied with the rules. Property owners come out with various reasons like RWH is a financial burden, lack of space, property is located on rock bed, or ask if loans are available to install RWH systems. Some ask for more time. There are people who are not convinced about the benefits of the RWH. Considering the future of the city, RWH is absolutely necessary,” Mr. Kemparamaiah said.

Srinivas Alavilli of Citizens for Bengaluru blamed the lack of compliance on laxity in enforcing the rules. “The BWSSB should involve ward committees to create awareness and encourage people to comply with the rules. When people realise the benefits of RWH, they will definitely implement it. Increasing penalty amount will not make any difference, as people pay the penalty instead of complying with the rule. The authorities should think of other options, like cutting off power line or drinking water supply,” he said.

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