With the rains set to hit the city soon, the BMC is clueless about the number of buildings in Mumbai that have installed rainwater harvesting system. Sources said it doesn't have the manpower or other resources to even find out how many of these systems are operational.
About seven years ago, the BMC made rainwater harvesting compulsory for buildings built on plots having an area of over 300 sq mtrs before issuing them occupational certificate. Sources said the BMC's building proposal department, however, gives its nod once a builder shows such a system in the building plan.
"Later, ward-level check-ups are conducted to ensure that if the infrastructure is in place," said a senior civic official from the building proposal department. However, inspections are mainly cosmetic, with officials only checking if the water conservation facility is there. They don't try to find out if it is operational, said the sources.
A classic example of negligence in this case is the rainwater harvesting system at BMC's Worli hubs, which has an area of 2.5 lakh square feet. The system is not operational though the infrastructure is in place.
A civic official from the rainwater harvesting department said they have a three-member team and it is practically impossible to cover the entire city.
"The team carries out awareness programmes about the need for water conservation. With such a small team it is not possible to find out if the rainwater harvesting systems in every building are operational or not," the official said, adding that it is the responsibility of societies to ensure that the system is functional.
Tushar Aphale, zonal president of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) of Bandra west constituency said hardly 10 per cent of the city buildings have mechanism to harvest rainwater.
"Ward officials say it is not their lookout, while the building proposal department staff say the system is in place in most buildings. Even the civic chief is clueless of what is happening in this regard," Aphale said.