environmentalism, water conservation

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water

“India uses up more groundwater than US and China.” Yay! Rejoice fellow countrymen for we have successfully surpassed US and China to become World  number 1 and in what? In depleting our groundwater resources. Hey, wait. That’s not good. We’re not supposed to be happy over that. Take that back, please!

With the world’s water resources becoming scarce, the time is not far when there will be rampant “water-wars”. Many people are under the delusion that water-scarcity is a third-world issue. No! Not true. Even states in the USA like California and Detroit, and most of Australia are drought-stricken.

A global crisis

Now, when the world is climate-changed, it requires us to not only judiciously use our water-resources and conserve them but experiment both policy-wise and technology-wise. Here, I am not talking about policies about waiving-off water bills or providing huge subsidies to people practicing a particular profession or to a certain sect of the society. I feel that this is a very myopic policy and only serves as a temporary fix. This has a very counter-effect. Take for instance Delhi Chief Minister’s generous claim of providing water at no cost to everybody in the city. Now, I guess everybody will agree with me that working in the government sector and putting the government’s water utilities under tremendous debt by promising free-water and waiving off people’s bills is sheer foolhardiness. Albert Einstein famously said “We can’t solve  problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Secondly, it encourages people to use more and more water, which would result in over-exploitation. We need to put sustainable policies in place to avert a hydro-apocalypse. Like following the example of drought-prone California to irrigate fields with adequately treated sewage, could save so many farmer suicides in our country too. And it’s not even rocket-science, there are fields that are irrigated with sewage water in India also and I can say it with such confidence because I have actually worked on that project (in Keshopur in west Delhi, if you want to know). What we need is our policy-makers to learn from successful stories, customise them to our country or rather areas’s specific needs and apply them. Effective implementation of policies and projects is what we need and half of our woes will be over. It’s not that difficult! Oh, our mighty government, do you hear me??

Einstein famously said “We can’t solve  problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Okay, after this cute little rant lets move on to focus on WHAT WE CAN DO to better the situation. Let me first enlighten you with a few facts about the Water situation in Delhi (read Metro cities). No. Forget the facts. There is a truth and the TRUTH is that things are pretty bad, we have messed up A LOT. It’s no surprise that most areas in the city have completely dried up and function on tanker water, DAILY! This is the story of  people who can afford their water supplies but the poor ones are still left at the mercy of the civic authorities. Areas that still have underground water have plethora of other issues of water contamination. So, not any better than having no water at all actually. AAARRGGGHH… All this makes me very angry. Anyway, remember we were taught about water conservation methods, those really really easy ones, at school? The ones that we conveniently chose to ignore? Ring a bell? No? Nevermind. I will help you revise through them once again because now we’re all grown up and have brains and we can think well for the environment which is a rendition of self-care and well being. Isn’t it? Lol. Obviously you didn’t know that. But now you know.

So here’s top 10 things which you can do.

  1. Fix leaky taps and pipes because “Leaks make your future bleak.” Yeah, that a wtaer conservation slogan I heard about in school which really did mean something. A lot of water is wasted due to leaky and faulty plumbing systems. Hence, it is very important to maintain your home’s plumbing system and to not overlook those leaks and to not procrastinate their fixing. I say “Fix ’em leaks yo” (That is really hip by my standards).

  2. Mop floors, don’t wash them. Don’t wash floors, everyday. It’s unnecessary. Mopping will do. It saves gallons of water.

    They see me mopping. I water saving. They learning
    -Sakku Bai (2017)

  3. Take bucket baths not showers or bubble baths. Start by taking shorter showers and gradually switch to bucket bath. Same goes for your car and your pets. Who doesn’t like taking long hot showers or soaking up in a hot tub but it isn’t sustainable. It’s pretty simple. Let me explain how it works. Today, you take a shower which equals a lot of wasted water which implies that more and more water gets exhausted from the source (A lot of people believe that the source of water is their tap. No, thats incorrect, there are aquifers under ground). Now later when the water utilities will have to supply water for your extravagant showers, they will still extract water from the same source (which now has lesser water, because we are not letting it replenish) which supplies to the same number of people or more. Now, understand that to meet the demand and with less raw material to work with, the quality decreases.Simple economics. The water quality standards will be compromised with. So, the next time you take a shower, you are actually risking yourself to a lot of toxins which can give you skin allergies. You don’t want that, do you? Soooo, take bucket baths and save water. By this I don’t mean that you can use as many buckets of water as you may like. That defeats the purpose. What I’m trying to say is lower your water usage for bathing purposes.You-Have-The-Power-To-Take-A-Short-Shower-333x500
  4. Practice rain-water harvesting. People have this general misconception that rain-water harvesting requires technical skills and some expertise. You actually need zero engineering skills to make a working rain-water harvesting system. All it requires is a barrel w or w/o tap, few pipes, duct tape and a plastic tap (Mostly). So, get on with it. Spend your weekend making this beautiful thing. Its such a joy to make something with your own hands, however it turns out to be, isn’t it?

    rain barrel
    This is how a rain barrel with fitted pipes carrying rain water look like
  5. Re-use grey water. Okay, I know grey water sounds nasty but grey water actually is all the watse water generated at your homes which does not have faecal contamination. Best example of this is RO waste-water. It doesn’t even require too much effort. All you have to do is insert the pipe that ejects waste water from the RO into a bucket and use that buckt water to wash utensils or mop floors.
  6. Zap the Tap. Turn off water while you brush your teeth. If I hadn’t seen that with my own naked eyes I wouldn’t have believed that people do that. I mean, why would you?? All I knew since childhood was to brush my teeth first and then rinse. Where does brushing with the water flowing come into picture? What purpose does it serve anyway? It’s purely illogical, irrelevant and foolish. I’m sorry if I hurt any feelings out there. But this needs to stop.
  7. Water your plants early in the morning. In case you don’t have plants, buy plants, they are nice things. Water them and watch them grow. Watering your plants early in the morning ensures that the roots absorb enough water before it evaporates.

  8. NUDGING. Okay, so this part is pretty interesting. A lot of people run their taps while brushing or washing utensils at full flow even when it is unnecessary. Following years of research into this issue by ME (kidding. it’s just an observation and I put my training of social science research methodologies and methods to use by asking my maid this question), I discovered that it is a mental thing. We believe that if we wash a utensil with a tap running at full flow, the utensil will be cleaned better and faster (Btw, this was her answer).What bullshit!!!! #doyouevenscience? In case you believed the same too, please un-believe it right away. So the fun learning here is that whenever you see anyone running a tap at full flow, unnecessarily, ask them to lessen it. And do it each and every time you see them doing it. Nudge them, prod them. Until they mend their ways. And they will.
  9. Use water-smart electronics. Making ethical consumer choices and buying electronics that are energy-efficient and lead to less water-wastage like ACs, washing machines and ROs, can save a great deal of water in the bigger scheme of things.
  10. Don’t play stupid water games. It’s a fool’s business. On a serious note, its inhumane. So STOP. Don’t do it.

Follow the aforementioned everyday, RELIGIOUSLY. Because I do not write these things for myself to just see and feel good about it. I write it for ya’ll to know.

These are some of the easily doable ones and I call them doable for a reason, you guys get me, right? Oh and yes, because I’m talking about water today,  thought you’d like to know that “the sea is rising three times faster than we projected” and this is a BIG CAUSE OF WORRY. We are in DEEP WATERS (pun intended). So don’t just read it and forget about it but ACT upon it. Also, pass on this river of knowledge to any other unenlightened person you cross paths with. Because a river needs to flow.

Remember, YOU are responsible for YOUR LIFE and WATER IS LIFE!

1) The word “Bai” used in the first quote translates to a maid in Hindi language.
2) Featuring image (heading) credits: http://www.philomathean.org/2010/11/1367/