New Delhi: In what comes as a huge relief to house owners who do not have rainwater harvesting, Delhi Jal Board has deferred the imposition of a hefty penalty which it had implemented since September 1, 2015.

Under the RWH rules, all existing buildings which are constructed on a plot of 500 sq m or more or new buildings that come up in planned areas on plots of 100 sq m or more are required to carry out rooftop RWH. While the rule has been in existence for several years, DJB announced a penalty, 50% of volumetric charges per bill, if someone failed to have carried out RWH. Consequently, several consumers complained of massive water bills in the months of November and December.

“We received several complaints and realized, like in the case of Dwarka societies, that they had not been given permission for borewells since there is a ban on these due to depleting groundwater levels. It has therefore been decided to defer the imposition of penalty for some months. The past penalty will also be waived off. The matter will be put before the Board in its next meeting,” said sources.

Since no permission for borewells is to be granted, DJB has come up with a simple design for RWH structures. “The new structures will be pits and we will be giving dimensions for them depending on where the structure is being made. For the purpose of filtering, conventional structures use layers of gravel, sand etc. Where it is possible to get these easily, consumers may go for it but in other cases, we would recommend interventions like blankets, which would also help to strain the water,” said the official.

DJB will also be granting exemptions, for instance in cases where groundwater level is high. These include areas like east Delhi, colonies along the Yamuna, Jahangirpuri etc. “A list of such areas will also be issued. Meanwhile, one should not think that because there is community RWH already done in the parks of their colonies, they will not be required to carry it out. Each household, if it falls under the criteria for carrying out RWH, has to do it,” said an official.

Residents had been caught unawares when DJB started implementing the rule, running up bills into thousands. The Nav Sansad Vihar society in Dwarka, for instance, was issued a bill of Rs 16,38,648 from April 1, 2015 to October 13, 2015. A charge of Rs 81,000 had been added as RWH penalty even though, residents said had a functional system.

Source: TOI-Delhi