Photo Copyrights in above Infographic, Ocean Photo : andegro4ka / 123RF Stock Photo
Fresh Water: marishaz / 123RF Stock Photo, Glacier: scusi / 123RF Stock Photo
River : czibo / 123RF Stock Photo
Water data for infographic: www.unwater.org/downloads/Water_facts_and_trends.pdf
Human population is increasing: An increasing global population is putting more demands on water available in nature. We think that there is abundance of water on the earth. This statement is partially true. Please refer to infographic on the left side of this page. The need for water conservation is more than ever.
We tend to think that water is needed only at our home. But whatever we consume or utilize in our homes- food, gadgets, furniture, books, papers, almost everything needs water in its making process. So whether at home or anywhere else we need to cultivate a habit to conserve water.
Long term and short term measures: A few simple steps can help in saving water at home. One approach is saving water consumption in easier day to day steps. Other approach involves long term measures and more planning, budget and execution time such as rain water harvesting, drip irrigation of home garden and methods that help in increasing ground water table. However these long term measures may need to be implemented at community level.
Below listed are some simple tips (GEMIs as we call these) for saving water in common daily activities where there is tendency of water wastage in usage at home. A few simple precautions can help in saving lots of water at home.
The statistics below assumes a family of 6. The statistics is on conservative side in terms of water saving and only as an indicator of potential for water saving. Actual saving can vary depending on many factors such as types of faucets used, factors such as water storing techniques etc.
Save Water - Simple Tips (GEMIs)
1. Brushing teeth: Turn off the washbasin faucet when not needed. One can save a whopping 2190 litres of water per year. Assumption: 6 members at home brush teeth every day two times and it takes 2-3 minutes to brush teeth. An additional 600 litres of water can be saved per year when men shave their whiskers by simply turning off the washbasin faucet when not needed.
2. Washing car: Use bucket instead of washing car by water pipe. It can easily save 800 litres of water per year, even if assuming a conservative saving of 5 litres of water per wash and around 160 car washes per year for one car.
3. Washing utensils: Utensils such as lids that are used to cover milk, subji etc. can be soaked in a bucketful of water containing dishwashing liquid and then rinsed. Use just the right size food plate for your meals rather than using a larger plate when not needed. Do away with katoris when you are serving thicker daal or dessert. Turn off the water faucet when not needed while rinsing utensils. One can save at least 2000 litres of water per year though these measures.
4. Toilet cistern and bath showers : If you are going in for new cistern , select one with dual flow options, that are nowadays available. These have two flows options of say 2.5/5 litres, that can help save water to the extent of at least 3500 litres per year. If there are older version cisterns in your home, then explore permanently placing a filled plastic water bottle of say even 250 ml or 500 ml in the cistern. This will help in saving a modest 250 ml/ 500 ml water during each flush. This water saving is significant over a longer period of time.
Latest versions of water showers are available that mix air and water that keeps shower experience quality same but saves on substantial water. Even self regulating water faucets are available.
5. Washing machine use: Washing machines are getting efficient by the day and consume lesser water, especially in recent years. However at times, the washing machines are loaded lesser than the rated capacity just to stick to daily cloth washing habit. Explore if you can do away with at least one or two days of washing machine running per week, by using it to the rated capacity on remaining days of the week. One can save anywhere from 160 to 500 litres of water per month and 1800 to 6000 litres of water per year through use of washing machine to rated capacity. However take precaution to never overload wachine machine or for that matter any electrical or mechanical device.
6. Packaged drinking water: There is a tendency to buy a bigger mineral water bottle and then throw the unused portion. Ensure you buy just the right size of mineral water bottle. Do you really need a one litre bottle when watching a two hour movie?
7. Leaking faucets: A partially leaking water faucet can waste as much as 10-40 litres of water per day. Get the leaking taps promptly repaired.
8. Keep water faucet flow to minimum: Many times, there is a tendency to turn on water faucet at full flow, while gargling, washing face or for that matter any use. Even modest flow of water can have handful of water. Make it a practice to turn on only as much needed water flow.
9. Use stored water wisely: Wherever there is unreliabale tap water supply, at times, the water is stored in buckets / drums, as a measure of "saving for the next day, just in case there is no incoming water in faucets next day". However if there is incoming water in faucets on subsequent days, the stored water is thrown down the drains. Use this stored water for good use.
With even these simple measures, one can save at least 5-10 % of water on a daily basis.
Apart from very simple but effective measures mentioned above, there are more intricate measures such as rain water harvesting and drip irrigation for home garden. We will cover these in future.