These days, school projects involve the parents so much that they become part of the project team along with their child. So, when Aditya informed his parents that he must submit a project on ‘how to conserve water this summer,’ his parents swung into action.
A brainstorming session followed. Everyone came out with a number of ideas to conserve water. Some of them are not so practical, yet, most are pragmatic and can be adopted by everyone. Water is a vital resource that is not often given the importance it deserves.
You can surely come out with more ideas on how to conserve water but let’s first consider what ideas Aditya and his parents came up with.
Water Scarcity in Our Cities
The water crisis is alarmingly making its mark felt in the Indian cities so much so that by 2050, at least 30 cities will face a ‘grave water risk’, said a 2020 report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Among the cities which are prominent in the list of 30 cities, Kolkata figure ominously.
However, Kolkata never had to worry about the water crisis so far as abundant water can be drawn from the Ganges, perennially flowing on the western flank. Yet, in recent years the flow of water decreases in the summertime, and so does water availability.
Moreover, indiscriminate usage of groundwater has reduced the water table considerably. Water supply to southern parts of the city such as Lake Gardens, Golf Green, Jadavpur, Santoshpur, Tollygunge, Behala, Garia, and Bansdroni is covered by groundwater. In the eastern and the northern parts, Salt Lake and New Town, Lake Town, Bangur, Baguiati, Airport area, most of B T Road, and the eastern part of EM Bypass are also dependent on groundwater. But the problem arises when over-extraction due to large-scale usage through illegal and private boring wells is straining the resource.
Of course, there is an aggressive government response to contain the crisis but we too need to contribute as citizens.
Start with the Taps at Home
If there is one thing which is responsible for water wastage in our homes, it is the tap. We must start our journey to conserve water from here.
The first thing to do is check them for leaks. Drops from a leaking tap actually add up to a few litres in a day.
We should use water-saving faucets and fixtures and even then avoid running the tap while we brush our teeth, lather our hands while washing them, and while scrubbing the dishes before washing them.
Pay special attention to your shower tap. While taking shower saves water, it is advisable to use it for a short duration only. Showerheads that dispense too much water should be avoided.
Use good old soap for taking a bath and not shower gels as they take more water to be rinsed off.
Conserve Water While Washing Cars
If we wash our cars with a water jet, we generally waste a lot of water. It is better to use a bucket, sponge, and soap to clean cars and use a water jet as minimum as possible if at all required.
Use recycled water for cleaning cars, driveways, sidewalks, etc. Grey water (water from bath, kitchen, washing machines) can be separated, filtered, and reused.
In fact, it is better to take your car to professional car cleaners. They use an optimum quantity of water to wash your car.
Gardens Need a Lot of Water
Conserving water while garden needs some rethinking in the way water is used in the gardens. Always use sprinklers to water plants and if the garden is large, install a drip irrigation system. You can easily set up a rain barrel to collect rainwater to be used later in the garden.
You can use household wastewater for use in the garden. For example, water used in cleaning vegetables can be used in watering plants. You can add mulch on the soil to minimize water evaporation; soil covered with 2-3 inches of mulch will keep the soil moist and significantly reduce the need for water.
It is better to select some low water-consuming plants such as cactus to reduce water consumption. Use minimum fertiliser as they need a lot of water to be effective.
Water your plants in the afternoon as the impending night will reduce evaporation and soil will conserve more water.
Rainwater Harvesting Needs to be Encouraged
Conserving rainwater is very important in preserving precious water resources. West Bengal launched a large-scale rainwater harvesting scheme called ‘Jal Dharo, Jal Bharo’, and a massive number of waterbodies were created under the scheme.
However, as a citizen, you can also take steps to preserve rainwater which can be used later, aprt from using it to recharge groundwater.
There are quite a few ways of rainwater harvesting. In urban areas, collecting rainwater from roofs and collecting surface rainwater in a container, recharge pits, or a waterbody for future use is quite popular these days.
In short, we must understand that there is a looming water crisis and we must act now so that it doesn’t go out of hand. Green living with a special focus on saving and recycling water should be a priority of every household and residential community.