It’s crucial to save water by augmenting the groundwater table and it is possible only through strict implementation of RWH and proper maintenance as well as frequent monitoring, according to activists and farmers.
They urged the respective district administrations to utilise abandoned wells and defunct borewells in the region as rainwater harvesting structures to harness water for the requirements of the public, to improve percolation and recharge the groundwater level.
As has been witnessed in several places across the State where the practice has been put to use sometimes yielding unexpectedly beneficial results, this water conservation method can be easily installed in individual homes, apartments, parks, offices and temples as well. RWH is not only an effective method in water-scarce times, it is also an easily doable initiative. However, most of the RWH structures in the households are defunct due to poor maintenance, while abandoned wells from where water could be sourced, have been closed across the region.
No proper implementation of law
Under the Tamil Nadu Municipal Laws (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2003 all government and private buildings should mandatorily install the RWH systems. Accordingly, almost all district authorities have strictly assessed property taxes of buildings only after ensuring that the rainwater harvesting system is in place. However, the initial enthusiasm has waned as local administrations had been lax in ensuring that the ordinance was properly implemented.
Many building owners had just created an open pit and claimed that it was an RWH system without connecting rooftop rainwater drains. This has resulted in more than 95 per cent of rainwater either flooding the roads and streets or going waste into stormwater drains without serving the original purpose of the mechanism.
Though the district administration and civic body officials frequently inspected the system in private and other buildings, they had failed to ask the public to strictly implement the water-saving system for augmenting the groundwater table which would help them in meeting future needs. “Only through a special drive to promote the RWH system and imposing strict penalties like suspension of water supply would the public ensure that the system is installed,” said KC Neelamegam, an activist from Tiruchy.
Abandoned wells could offer succour
Farmers in the region have urged the State government to instruct the district administrations to ensure strict implementation of the scheme in all abandoned wells. AV Gopaladesigan, a senior farmer from Karur, said, “Abandoned wells and defunct borewells have literally turned into dustbins and are dilapidated due to inadequate maintenance by panchayat officials. Some are being closed by filling them with garbage, sand as well as debris. These abandoned structures can be used for rainwater harvesting if they are properly desilted.”
Officials to resume campaign
Thanjavur Corporation Commissioner and Regional Director for Municipal Administration P Kalimuthu said officials have already launched a campaign to make the RWH system compulsory, failing which buildings that don’t adhere to the norm won’t be assessed for tax. Consequently, they won’t get basic amenities such as water and underground drainage connections. “We have been undertaking door-to-door inspections and will decide on the action to be taken,” Kalimuthu said.
Source: TWAD Board
Roof area (sq ft)Water saved (per day/litres)Cost of kit (Rs)
RWH installed (units)
Number of RWH systems11,988
Number of huts95
Govt/quasi govt buildings47
RWH systems installed2 lakh