The Karnataka government is mulling over making it compulsory for commercial buildings in rural areas to implement rainwater harvesting, as part of its effort to build a water-secure future for the state, rural development minister Krishna Byre Gowda said, on May 18, 2019. “Commercial buildings in rural Karnataka like factories, warehouses, buildings – we are trying to make rainwater harvesting compulsory for them. We are examining it legally also. We will issue a circular regarding this, to get it implemented compulsorily,” Gowda said.
Currently, such a mandate, making rainwater harvesting compulsory, exist for the areas that come under urban local bodies and not for rural parts. Referring to buildings constructed by Panchayat Raj Engineering divisions like schools, colleges, aangavadi buildings and hospital buildings, Gowda said, “We are changing the model estimates, making it mandatory to include rainwater recharge in the building estimate and an order to this effect, will be issued on June 11.”
The minister held a video conference with the chief executive officers of all districts, about ‘Jalamrutha’ and Karnataka’s Year of Water campaign, to harvest water and conserve it, with public participation that involves water literacy programme.
He said 15 years of the last 19 years had been drought-hit for Karnataka. Work on 20,000 water harvesting structures is on and will be completed by 2019-20, the minister said. “We will also revive 14,000 small water bodies and will take advantage of NREGS, to create assets at an investment of Rs 500 crores,” he added.
The department also plans to distribute about 2 crore plants through gram panchayats this year. Asked about officials at the pilgrimage centre of Dharmasthala appealing to devotees to defer their visit, citing scarcity of water, Gowda said, “It is true that there is issue due to drought. We will talk to them on what can be done there, as large number of pilgrims gather. Will talk to chief minister also.”