The dry season is on. As temperatures soar one commodity becomes precious; the elixir of life, water. Urbanization has had its toll on the environment and one of its victims has been depletion of fresh water sources. As the explosion in population and the demand for water is peaking, receding ground water tables is a reality in many cities. A sense of urgency in tackling the issue is the need of the hour. As a responsible citizen, what are the steps we can take, as individuals, to help the cause?
How much water do I use? It is a good exercise to have a mental map of our daily requirement. When our resident’s association started sending the water bills for the whole community, we were quite interested to know how the usage in our house compared with those of others. I remember being quite impressed if we could find a house that had a lower bill than ours. It would set us thinking how we could further reduce our usage. This process made all of us vigilant about water usage. Small steps go a long way. Turning the tap off while brushing the teeth, reusing water used for washing rice and vegetables to water the plants, using the bucket instead of the hose to wash the car are some of the small steps that add up to reduce the overall usage. Install a water level controller that turns off the water pump such that the overhead tank does not overflow. Check for leaks in taps, toilet flush tanks and plumbing joints at regular intervals and fix the problem before much water can flow down the drain. If you keep being a water police of your own house, you will discover many such tricks. It will bring down your water bill, for sure. But, more importantly, it will discipline us to be aware and watchful of the impact of our lifestyle on the environment.
Rainwater harvesting, a method of harvesting rooftop rain water, is being promoted by governments and organizations to address the issue of water shortage in cities. It is time each of us, with independent houses, explores this option for our homes. In simple terms, it involves installing pipes that channelize the rooftop rain water to a rainwater harvesting filter chamber and the output of the filter is sent to the water sump. The harvested rain water can be used for flushing toilets, watering gardens etc. In case you own a borewell, injection wells for borewell recharge is recommended. The installation of a rainwater harvesting system is not very expensive and can be retrofitted to existing houses and buildings. A little planning and a will to implement will go a long way in making water available to your household round the year as well as avoiding wastage of precious rain water.
A sewage treatment plant is one more efficient way of recycling waste water and reducing the burden on the municipal sewage system. If you are staying in a residential layout or an apartment building, managed by a residents’ association, do enquire if your premises have a sewage treatment plant. Chances are, a plant does exist but is not operational, as we found out when we moved to our current house. Running an STP properly requires logistics support involving constant monitoring. Volunteers from the residents’ association spent many hours studying the problem of a non-functional STP and pooled in resources to repair the system. Today, we have a functional STP that produces sufficient recycled water that can maintain the layout gardens!
Here’s to taking those Three Steps on Water:
Reduce , Reuse, Recycle!