Putting Laws into Practice: The Case of Rainwater Harvesting

What happens when a law is passed in a vacuum?  The answer: it doesn’t get implemented.

What happens when the government throws rules and regulations at people, without giving them the tools to apply them, or without developing enforcement mechanisms to measure adherence?  The answer: nobody complies, and nobody cares.

This is exactly what is happening with the rainwater harvesting law.  Wait, what rainwater harvesting law?  See, I didn’t know about it either –  apparently, in 2001 the Central Ground Water Authority made it “mandatory for every household to have a rooftop rainwater harvesting system wherever the groundwater level is below 8 metres.”  In addition, the new bylaws mandate water harvesting in all new buildings built on plots of 100 square meters and above, and require that buildings with a daily discharge of 10,000 liters or more incorporate wastewater recycling systems.  What a great concept, right?

But, again, here’s the golden question – how does it work in practice?  Here are some thoughts from Ajay Kharbanda, a Delhi resident who is a practicing rainwater harvester:

Everyone thinks, why spend money on this when he is anyway getting his daily supply of water. But people do not realize that nothing is permanent.

Neither do buildings have the incentive to abide by these regulations, as there seem to be no stipulations regarding enforcement or penalization.  How, then, is this system supposed to work?  What type of program must the government implement, and with what types of incentives / penalties in order to make the law effective in practice?

An example is Indore, which gives a 6% rebate in property tax to all those who adopt rainwater harvesting.  What do you think?  What other methods are necessary for legal theory to turn into everyday practice?

Source: Times of India

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One Response

  1. sixer

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