Friday, Sep 13, 2002
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By Feroze Ahmed
``Non-provision of RWH structures as shown in approved plans will be considered a deviation and violation of the development control rules. Enforcement action will be taken against such developments,'' said the CMDA Vice-Chairperson, Jayanthi.
``Enforcement action'' could mean either demolition of the buildings or refusal of electricity and water connections. It would also result in forfeiture of security deposits and denial of completion certificates.
The CMDA made water conservation its business late last year when it got its DCR amended to make RWH mandatory in new constructions. The amended clause in the DCR, 27-A, states an application for planning permission shall contain water conservation proposals, and details two RWH models one for ordinary buildings and the other for special buildings, group developments and multistoreyed buildings, industries and institutional buildings.
For once, builders are willing to comply with the CMDA tough-speak. ``RWH is what you give your customers as a goodwill gesture,'' said R. Kumar, director (technical), Navin Builders. ``But we should not have RWH structures just because the Government wants one. We should provide effective models suitable to local conditions.'' According to builders, Metrowater and CMDA officials check RWH facilities for their effectiveness before issuing completion certificates. Buyers of new flats and buildings can rest assured that the RWH structure on their premises is not simply connected to the drain, as was being done in many cases earlier.
But immediately after the well-intended statute was introduced, it drifted the wrong way with the builders complaining that CMDA officials were misusing the rule to harass them. Some were denied completion certificates though they had put up perfectly workable RWH structures on their premises. The officials rejected them as they did not conform to the CMDA models.
``There is no point following whatever the CMDA suggests if it does not function,'' said a builder. A meeting with senior bureaucrats sorted out the issue and it was clarified that any effective model would be allowed, and the CMDA has now officially included three more RWH models. For individual houses, the CMDA suggests channelling rooftop water directly to a service well or through a canal after passing it through a pebble bed-sand filter, or harvesting rainwater through spaced out percolation pits which are filled with silt arresters, sand, pebbles and broken bricks. Another model suggests directing filtered rainwater to a sump and allowing excess water to flow into a well.
In apartments, rainwater falling in the open space around the building should be diverted to the front gate, where a gutter should be provided and from there water channelled to a recharge well or pit.
(The rules and suggested RWH models are available on www.cmdachennai.com)
The 2001 Government Order also provides additional regulations for all buildings. ``All centrally air-conditioned buildings shall have their own waste water reclamation plant and use reclai- med waste water for cooling purposes''.
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