Mangaluru: Taking cue from the directive given by the DC A B Ibrahim to make rain water harvesting mandatory for all commercial/residential buildings above 2,000 sq ft area, Dakshina Kannada zilla panchayat too, has decided to make the same mandatory for buildings coming under the jurisdiction of gram panchayats in the district.
The zilla panchayat is also keeping in mind the union government’s Swachh Bharat Mission drive to make Indian an open defecation free country has also mandated that constructing a toilet in such buildings is a must for any gram panchayat to issue a building license.
And since gram panchayats have the responsibility to supply potable water to their stakeholders for use in various places including toilets, it laid greater emphasis on making rain water harvesting a must.
Incidentally, when this issue was raised in the maiden meeting of the zilla panchayat, while there was unanimity of views among the members on the need to compulsorily promote rain water harvesting, they had reservations about making toilets a must. Not that they did not support the need for cleanliness, but their reservation was based on how to maintain the toilets built without water. “This is a Catch 22 situation for all concerned,” noted Mamatha Gatty, member.
P I Sreevidya, chief executive officer, Dakshina Kannada zilla panchayat said water conservation efforts will pave the way to address the availability or lack of water for toilet maintenance. Gram panchayats often do not have their own dedicated source of water to supply to residents and commercial units in their area, she said, adding if rain water harvesting picks up, it will recharge the underground water table and also ensure that there is adequate water in bore wells.
Borewell recharge structures are now available, which private and public entities can implement with ease. The ZP will arrange for training for officials – department wise, and members – about how one can go about recharging borewells in a scientific manner, she said. “This work can be done using the MGNREGA scheme,” she said. Lack of drinking water problem is getting serious even in rural areas and only concerted efforts will help push these twin objectives, she said.