Water conservation: Ways in which citizens and housing societies can save water

[] Conservation of water is an urgent need today, with many parts of India facing a crisis. We look at what citizens and housing societies can do, to ensure that this limited resource is utilised carefully

In his ‘Mann ki Baat’ in February 2021, prime minister Narendra Modi urged Indians to conserve water. The Jal Shakti Ministry has also announced that it would be launching a 100-day campaign, with a mission to ‘catch the rain’, that is, to undertake cleaning up of water sources and conserving rainwater. However, apart from the Ministry’s campaigns, only collective and responsible efforts can ensure that water is conserved and saved.  As responsible residents, it is important for one to contribute towards water management. The first step towards water conservation, begins with reducing wastage. It is encouraging to note that several housing complexes across the country, are actively conserving water in various ways.

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For example Sudarshan Dhuru, president of Raheja Residency Apartment Owners’ Apex Body, in Bengaluru, says that their housing complex has extensively implemented rainwater harvesting. “The rainwater from the rooftops, is channelled to over 30 water tanks of 5,000 litres each. This water is also routed to seven rainwater harvesting pits with a diameter of four ft and depth of 15 ft. The water stored in the tanks is used for washing cars three days a week and for mopping common area corridors. This water is also used to supplement the water supply into our main sump and used in toilets. We have made modifications in the flushing system, whereby the water discharged is reduced by almost 60%, saving almost 15 litres of water during every flush,” Dhuru explains.


Water-saving gadgets

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Most people tend to open the taps with water gushing out of it, not realising that most of the water just flows down the drain and is wasted. Roshan Karthik, co-founder of EarthFokus, maintains that there are various ways in which one can save water. His company, for example, makes QuaMist, which works on the principle of breaking down one drop of water into droplets. “With these nozzles installed on faucets, the output is reduced and the savings is 95%. In this way one can make efficient use of water, with a regular tap dispensing 10-12 litres a minute. QuaMist (Rs 660) comes with a dual flow option and is recommended for domestic uses. EcoMist (Rs 550) is a tamper-proof model that can be used in public and commercial places,” informs Karthik.

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Reduce, reuse and recycle

Rainwater harvesting is by far, the quickest solution, to increase the availability of water in areas that have inadequate resources, says S Vishwanath, a water conservation expert and architect and director at Biome Environmental Solutions. “One can store rainwater in tanks and use it to flush toilets, water plants, etc. Rainwater can also be harvested, to recharge groundwater through recharge pits, dug wells, bore wells, and recharge trenches,” suggests Vishwanath, who strongly advocates the concept of reduce, reuse and recycling of water.

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Ways to monitor water usage at home:

  • Make sure your house has a water meter and that the readings are recorded monthly.
  • Install a meter for the bore well, as well, if you have one and note how much water is used every month.
  • Installation of meters, will avoid any blame-game between residents, over the usage of water. These meters monitor water usage of each apartment and residents can be charged, accordingly.

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“In addition to rainwater harvesting systems, one can set up simple systems for recycling grey water from the sink, to use it for flushing or watering the garden. Residents can also become active members of local groups that seek to clean up and save lakes,” Vishwanath adds.

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Using car parking spaces for rainwater harvesting

Reuse, is something people do not often consider for rainwater, points out Kalpana Ramesh, an architect and water conservation champion, who is driving the ‘Live the Lakes’ initiative in Hyderabad and is a volunteer with SAHE (Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour).

“One can use the car parking space for rainwater storage. One car park base can store up to 32,000 litres in a 10x20x6 ft space. This can be used as a drinking water sump, or can directly be connected to an existing sump. Such an underground tank would be connected to the rooftop through a pipe. The pipe would bring down all the water and first pass it through a filtration pit, filled with sand and coal, after which the water would flow into the tank. This water can also be fed into an injection bore well, to replenish the groundwater,” says Ramesh.

DIY tips to save water

  • Opt for low-flow shower heads, which lessen the amount of water used. Similarly, use water-efficient aerators for taps and flushes.
  • Use a bowl of water to wash fruits and vegetables, instead of running water and reuse this water for gardening.
  • Turn off the tap, when you brush your teeth.
  • Repair plumbing leakages immediately.
  • Use the washing machine only with a full load of clothes.
  • Always water your garden during the late evening, to prevent loss of water by evaporation.
  • When cleaning the car wipe it with a damp cloth, instead of using buckets of water.
  • Segregate household garbage and compost wet waste. Avoid using plastic items. These measures will reduce pollution of rivers and lakes.


When is World Water Day?

World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 every year since 1993, to emphasise the importance of conserving freshwater.

What is sump waste water and how can it be used?

Usually sites, buildings and structures interact with the water table and often require pumping to remove water, otherwise it tends to damage the buildings. However, if the water is good and safe, it can be diverted for irrigation purposes.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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