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New houses, buildings bypass rainwater harvesting rules

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SHILLONG, June 16: Many under-constructed houses and apartments in Shillong are bypassing the mandatory criteria of installing rainwater harvesting system, but are receiving due clearances from authorities.
According to the Meghalaya Water Policy of 2019, all new buildings are required to have rooftop rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge mechanisms. Meghalaya was the first state in India to implement such a comprehensive water policy aimed at preserving and conserving water resources. However, enforcement remains weak, with many constructions receiving clearance certificates without adequate checks.
One homeowner, requesting anonymity, stated, “We were told that installing the rainwater harvesting system would incur a huge expenditure and that’s why we did not go ahead with it.”
Another homeowner, whose house is still under construction, admitted ignorance of the mandatory rainwater harvesting requirement.
These incidents are an indication of a broader issue of lack of awareness about the Water Policy and the financial concerns.
The Meghalaya Water Policy encourages the creation of multipurpose reservoirs at village or micro-watershed levels to promote water security and create livelihood opportunities. It also promotes small water storage structures for rainwater harvesting at the household level, especially in remote areas, to improve water security.
Despite these initiatives, enforcement has been a significant challenge. Contractors in the city have noted that many residential constructions have received clearances without proper checks for rainwater harvesting compliance.
The hilly terrain of Meghalaya means that much of the rainfall quickly drains away, leaving the state with less water than it receives. The Water Policy was designed to address this issue, but the lack of strict enforcement and awareness is hampering its effectiveness.

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