The systems in more than 50 DDA pockets are lying defunct. But who's responsible for their maintenance? DDA, MCD, DJB or the RWAs themselves? No one knows.
Of late, rainwater harvesting systems have been on every Dwarka resident's mind. Not only because of the fines being levied on CGHS apartments for not having maintained the systems, but — surprise! — for more than 50 DDA pockets where the rainwater harvesting systems have been lying defunct, and completely overlooked.
Incidentally, no fines have been levied on these pockets across the sub-city. This is simply because nobody seems to know which civic authority is in charge of the rainwater harvesting systems here.
DDA promptly says the RWAs and civic bodies should look after the maintenance of these systems. The RWAs, on their part, have shoved the onus of upkeep on to MCD.
Said Bandan Kumar Singh, RWA president of Green View Apartments, Sector 19, Pocket 2, where the rainwater harvesting system is in such a deplorable state that the recessed areas are covered up, “We want MCD to revive or redevelop these systems, as they are an integral tool for water conservation. MCD has never taken its responsibility seriously.”
Again, according to Suresh Tayal, an environment enthusiast and resident of Sector 16, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and municipal corporation are both shrugging responsibility of maintenance of these systems.
As per DDA rules, it is mandatory for any building having a catchment area of 100 sq m or more to implement the rainwater harvesting scheme. Although DDA mandates all commercial and residential structures to have these harvesting pits, the ground reality is very different. No official from DDA, DJB or MCD can explain whose responsibility it is to oversee implementation or maintenance of these systems.
Many RWAs, too, are unaware of this rule for having a rainwater harvesting system or the penalties being levied on them. “Recently, penalties for rainwater harvesting systems have been added to the water bills of cooperative group housing societies," said Sunidhi Dasgupta, a resident of Sector 3. "There is a need for rules and policies to be put in place, which should be applicable to DDA pockets too.”
City Spidey had a talk with Diwan Singh, the convenor of Natural Heritage First, an organisation that works for environment conservation. “In the case of DDA pockets, it is actually the duty of MCD to ensure that the laws are properly implemented," he said. "The RWAs cannot be held responsible, as they have no statutory powers.”
Some say that ever since 2015, the sewer and water system of Dwarka is under DJB, and hence the rainwater harvesting systems should be its responsibility as well.
However, when City Spidey caught up with DJB spokesperson Nidhi Srivastava, she had a rather vague statement to make. “We are working on the rainwater harvesting systems of Dwarka. For awareness and promotion, we are going to organise two camps soon.”
All that is very well, Ms Srivastava. But our question remains unanswered — who is responsible for the rainwater harvesting systems in Dwarka?