BWSSB penalising despite harvesting rainwater: Consumers

BWSSB penalising despite harvesting rainwater: Consumers
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BWSSB penalising despite harvesting rainwater: Consumers

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The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) was collecting Rs 2.93 crore each month in penalties from consumers for not harvesting rainwater

Bengaluru: The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) was collecting Rs 2.93 crore each month in penalties from consumers for not harvesting rainwater. Now, consumers are complaining that they are being penalised by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for not installing rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems even though they had installed them several years back. BWSSB is charging interest and penalizing in spite of showing all documents related to rainwater harvesting, the consumers complained.

"We have a rainwater harvesting system. I showed the BWSSB officials the place where we were storing rainwater and the provision for water to percolate to the ground. The staff of BWSSB saw the place where we installed the rainwater harvesting system, yet they penalised us. We were out of town for the last six months due to the pandemic situation, but we were handed out Rs 20,000 bill," a resident from HMT Layout said.

From February 2017, the BWSSB has been imposing 50 percent penality on water bills on consumers for not following the mandatory rainwater harvesting guidelines. The fine goes up to 100 percent for commercial establishments. Reacting to complaints from consumers about the penalties, BWSSB senior official said, "No such cases reported. There seems to be lack of awareness in conserving water." According to BWSSB (amended) Act 2009, Section 72-A, rainwater harvesting systems were made compulsory from 2009 for all buildings measuring 1,200 sq ft and above.

Buildings constructed before 2009 measuring 2,400 sq ft and above should have the facility too. BWSSB had been imposing penalties on houses which have failed to install RWH structures on houses built on 60X40 sites and houses built on 30X40 sites after 2009. The board first issues a notice and then imposes a fine of 25 percent of the bill amount for three months and then increases it to 50 percent if the owner has not installed the structure even after six months of getting the notice.

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