Thankfully for our planet, more and more urban Indian residents are waking up to the unavoidable reality that by 2025, one in three Indians is going live under ‘scarce water’ conditions (source: International Water Management Institute). If we don’t start saving now, there’s a dry spell coming up. Where do we begin? In our kitchens, bathrooms and balconies.
Kitchen: Your RO (reverse osmosis water purifier) is a huge water waster. Though it contains high amounts of mineral and salt content that is harmful for ingestion or for washing your clothes, you can still use the waste water for your potted plants or the lawn, or to clean floors, wash out your driveway and flush the toilets. It does take a bit of effort to collect the water and use it meticulously but, hey, your grandkids will thank you for it.
Bathroom: Busy urbanites waste much water due to ‘convenient’ means and methods that may save time but at a big ecological cost. Turning off the tap while brushing one’s teeth, using water-saving foot pedals, toilet flushes and showerheads – or better still, switching to a bucket for bathing – all go a long way in saving those litres. A Brazilian environmental group even recommends peeing in the shower to save that one extra flush: the SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation estimated that if a single household flushed the toilet just one fewer time a day, it would save 1,157 gallons of water each year.
Balconies: Condensation from your air conditioner creates several litres of relatively pure water every night, which, in most setups, is drained away. Save it in buckets, and use it for your washing machine the next morning. Rain, of course, is another source of fresh water; if you don’t have a harvesting system in place, you can set up long rubber tubes to transport water away from your terrace’s or balcony’s drain pipe straight to a nearby lawn or water tank.
Knowledge of water consumption in means of production is another weapon you can use against mindless wastage. Choose tea over coffee; vegetables over meat; and biodegradable cleaners (such as lemon, salt and vinegar) over chemical-laden detergents if you want less of a water footprint.
First published in Prevention India magazine, September 2013 issue