There is something very romantic about the Indian monsoons. It is the time we all wish to look out of the window and snuggle with a cup of hot tea and some crunchy pakodas. Monsoon is also the time for me where my heart is filled with a lot of love and the most beautiful songs start playing in my head.
Sadly in 2016 we didn’t get to do much of this as the monsoons evaded us in most parts of India. This has left us literally high and dry. The reservoirs are empty and the water tables are under great stress already. It is very hard to believe this when Chennai was flooded in 2015 due to the reservoirs overflowing. The bottom line is we are going through DROUGHT. It is a serious issue that is affecting farmers , city dwellers, wild animals in the forest, basically every living being that is dependent on water.
You might say that you could buy a tanker of water by paying a little bit more than the going rate and you could manage the drought. But it is still important for us to not misuse this precious commodity, more now than ever to ensure everybody has rightful share of it.
Here are a few tips to manage during the drought. But with global warming taking over our lives and population going out of control it might be sensible to follow these tips throughout our lives, all through the year.
- Fix dripping taps:The obvious and most common request. Yet how many of us actually take the effort to get it fixed? But it is a very serious concern. According the United States Environmental Protection Agency “A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That’s the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers!” If finding the a plumber is a concern there are now many startups like www.urbanclap.com and www.servehome.in who can solve your problem.
- Take a bucket bath: Even if we have fit a low flow shower head and had a quick 5 minute shower we end up using 35litres of water. But how many of us actually time our showers? So by shifting to a bucket and mug bath you use roughly about 25lites of water or even less. And what about tub bath? A big no no during a drought. I take a tub bath on rare ocassions during a holiday , that too as a treat after a certain achievement of a target. And there is no cheating.
- Close the tap: Close them when not in use while brushing teeth, shaving , cleaning vessels etc . Ofcourse we all know that but this is just a reminder. Another thing to remember is to open the tap only as little as required and not fully where the water gushes out in force.
4.Mindful laundry: Do your laundry only when you have a full load. Try reusing towels and clothes like nightwear or jeans before you send them to be washed. Hand wash clothes if possible as it takes up much less water. Shift to natural detergents like that of Wild idea and Bubble Nut Wash. The cleaning quality of natural detergents is as efficient as chemical based and are safe for washing machines. They are healthy too and prevents issues of rashes etc that are common with chemical based detergents. These detergents do not lather and so require less water to wash. The water that is drained out is also less toxic when it seeps into our water table or goes into our sewers.
- Avoid too many dishes. More the dishes more water required to clean them. This means being mindful at all times. While cooking, while serving , while storing cooked food and while eating out. Avoid dishwashers as they too take up a lot of water. Natural dishwashing powder like that of Krya and Wild Ideas can be used for the same reason of shifting to natural laundry detergents.
- Reuse water wherever you can. Like the water used for washing vegetables, or dals can be used for your plants. Water washed out from natural detergents and dishwash powders is extremely safe for your plants or can be reused for cleaning your bathrooms.
- Ban the water hose for your garden and car:Water your garden with a watering can and only when your plant requires it. Plants do not really need water every day. Based on how the days are if your plants shows signs of wilting it is only then they need to be watered and the best time to do so is in the evening. Most of us prefer using a hose pipe to water the garden. It is probably the worst way to water your garden as it tends to over water. Over watering can kill the plants as much as not watering. Using a can will distribute the water evenly over a plant, with less force and the right quantity. This will avoid a lot of water being wasted. If you have a bigger garden and if you can afford it, try installing a drip water system in your garden. Cars too do not need a hose wash. A bucket and wash cloth would do to clean them.
- Save drinking water:While going out and being served water ask only how much you require to be poured in your glass. If every customer at a restaurant did this then litres of pure drinking water can be saved.
- Fix your toilet flush: Fix a flush that gives you 2 options of the amount of water used to flush. If you can’t afford to change them be a bit mindful while flushing by pulling up the lever if you think the water has run enough. Try reusing water used for washing etc to flush your toilet using a bucket and a mug.
- 10. Water harvesting and treating grey water:Since rainwater harvesting has been a boon for us we must also consider methods to recycle /treat grey water that are suitable for individual homes and apartment complexes. With proper treatment grey water can be used for laundry, toilet flushing, and also irrigation of plants.This helps reducing the need for fresh water and reducing the amount of wastewater entering sewers. Contact a civil engineer, architect on how to go about this . There are many easy cost effective methods to do this including planting Canna Indica (kalvazhai) plants in the water collection area.