Now that it is the need of the hour, water scarcity is being dealt with by many bodies in many different ways. For example, The Union government recently formed a new Jal Shakti (water) ministry, which aims at tackling water issues with a holistic and integrated perspective. However, we forget to ask: What about the wastewater that gets generated domestically? What is the point of infrastructure if there will be no water to supply at all? And most importantly: How do we tackle water scarcity at a personal level?
Presently, India captures only eight per cent of its annual rainfall, among the lowest in the world. “There is a need for a paradigm shift. We urgently require a transition from this 'supply-and-supply-more water' provision to measures which lead towards improving water use efficiency, reducing leakagesand recharging/restoring local waterbodies.” - Mahreen Matto, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi.
HERE ARE A FEW WAYS YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR WATER-USE EFFICIENCY:
RAINWATER HARVESTING:It is time to go back and start using our traditional practice of rainwater harvesting — catching water where it falls.
- Get an open barrel to collect rainwater in your garden area and cover with a lid. Alternately, you can place drums in different areas. Use this water for gardening, cleaning your vehicles, and even for washing clothes.
- Keep your terrace surface clean. Place a container under the pipe that brings down the terrace water. You can use it for irrigation.
- You could soak multiple clothes in a bucket of water instead of one or two at a time each day. Similar is the case with a dishwasher.
- If you find any leakages in taps or pipes in your house and fixation requires time, then collect that water in a bucket and use to wash utensils.
Flush with greywater.
Fill a bucket with warm-up (cold water that runs off from the tap before the hot water) or runoff water from the sink or shower and use it to fill your toilet's tank when it needs to be flushed.
Use a front-loading washer.
A front-loading washer will use about 40% the amount of water a top-loading washer uses. This is because the front-loading washer moves clothes through the water, rather than sloshing in it, creating more agitation.
IN YOUR GARDENS:
Choose plants that thrive in less water.
Your garden might call high water requirement, so make your plant choices wiser.
Water houseplants with ice cubes.
Ice cubes are absorbed slowly into the soil, preventing excess water from running out. Cubes that were dropped on the floor work well for this tip.
IN YOUR KITCHEN:
Reuse old water.
Found a cup full of stagnant water on the nightstand? Water a houseplant or throw it in the garden.
Use one cup a day.
Designate one glass a day for your beverages and do fewer dishes every night.
Soak, don't scrub.
Scrubbing hard-to-clean dishes under running water is a waste. Soak them right after use for easy and waste-free cleanup.
Eat Less Water-Intensive Foods.
Our diets account for roughly half of all the water we use. All food has a water footprint, but some are much larger than others. Eating less beef, one of the most water-intensive foods, is a smart place to start. Shifting away from animal products to a plant-based diet can shrink your water footprint significantly.
Consumer products are an often-overlooked source of water use, accounting for up to a third of most people’s water footprint. Buying less of everything—from clothing to electronics to household goods—can dramatically decrease your water footprint.
Cover Swimming Pools to Reduce Evaporation
Swimming pools can lose an inch or more of water each week to evaporation. Temperature, humidity, wind, and the way the pool is situated can all affect how quickly water evaporates. To save thousands of gallons of pool water each season, get a cover for your pool.
Another aspect isthe treatment and reuse of wastewater.
According to CSE: About 80 per cent of the water that reaches households, leaves as waste and pollutes our water bodies and environment. There is a huge potential in reusing and recycling this treated wastewater at least for non-potable purposes, which is cost-effective.
Efficient use of water, and effective measures to save wherever we can, can play a major role. Being aware, and keeping an alert eye out to minimise loss of water and reuse as much as possible, must be put to habit.
Also, toeducate must be the primary duty of every community member. Let’s never forget that sometimes to just makeone person aware of the due course - his/her actions towards the environment-will serve—can start a chain of conscious actions. Educate especially those who might not have access to educate themselves in the right direction.We must encourage knowledge which leads away from the incessant supply of water.The more you take steps to educate yourself and those around you, the more aware you are of the impact you create.
India’s future water needs stand on the line; we need to move away from conventional water supply and consumption frameworks in order to tackle this. So, when the water gushes out of our taps next time, let’s be aware of its journey.
This article is contributed by Prachi Pearl Baptist, a student of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai.