In an exclusive interview, the Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) explains how this simple solution can save massive quantities of wasted water in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai too.
The ‘I Save Water’ campaign by the Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) is all set to save over 1600 crore litres of water in three years!
The ambitious plan has already seen great success in Pune, and now, the city chapter of the association aims to replicate it in five more cities.
This will be done through simple but effective techniques which will reduce the use of water and recycle a large portion of the used water.
The Better India spoke to Rahul Dhadphale, the National Joint Secretary of IPA about the campaign to understand how they plan on undertaking the seemingly humongous task to save precious water from going waste.
But first, we need to understand why it is crucial for us to make individual efforts towards this aim.
One does not need to be briefed about water scarcity; it is a global crisis. However, when you calculate the amount of water used for minor activities like brushing our teeth or flushing, it really puts things into perspective.
A tap left open for a full minute lets out over 9 litres of water. That is over Rs 300 spent on a soft drink, or Rs 180 spent on bottles of mineral water of the same quantity, gone down the drain.
A shower consumes about 37 litres of water while every flush takes about 18 litres of water.
Now, of course, we cannot stop bathing or using the toilet. The former can be unhygienic and compromising on the latter is downright disgusting.
But what solutions do we have to use the water that needs to be used while not wasting it too much?
“A tap running at an optimum capacity lets out between 8 to 10 litres, but we do not more than 2.5 litres to wash our hands or for brushing,” says Dhadphale.
“So, the IPA is trying to bring technical solutions, which are already available in the market, to the attention of the public.
For example, a pressure compensating aerator is fixed inside a tap so that it lets out water is such a flow that we get the satisfaction of using the water, but the extra 6 litres or so is not wasted,” he adds.
The aerator is a device fixed inside taps to add air to the water which increases its volume. This way, the flow remains as usual, but less water is let out and consequently, restricting wastage.
The ISW campaign was implemented in Pune three years ago when the IPA approached the Pune airport to fit its water outlets with the aerators.
The result? Over 15 lakh litres of water saved at the airport which sees a massive passenger footfall every day. In addition to the airport, the experiment targeted hotels and residential societies as well.
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Speaking to The Hindu, Gurmeet Singh, the national president of IPA had said, “We went to residential societies and hotel groups. Hotels on an average have 1,500 rooms with high water consumption.
There is a lot of wastage in hotels as people use water without thinking, as it is free of cost. We saved 20 [lakh] litres of water through the project. The airport and railway stations in Pune are now saving water.”
Taking the project to the next level, the IPA is pitching Rs 5-7 lakh to install about 1000 aerators which cost between Rs 350-1000, prioritising public spaces. Plumbers will be hired to install the devices in taps.
While the aerator has spelt success with the 10,000 people that installed it through the ISW campaign in Pune, Dhadphale says that rainwater harvesting and recycling of grey water are also on the agenda to ensure that water is saved not just on an individual level, but also on household and housing society levels.
Reducing the usage of water (through aerators), reusing it (greywater harvesting) and recycling (rainwater harvesting) are three excellent methods to conserve water.
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As mentioned at the start of this article, the project will be replicated in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. “We are targeting this segment to save 100 crore-litres of water in the first year, 500 crore litres in the second and 1,000 crore litres in 2021,” Singh told TH.
It is the need of the hour today to really scrutinise how much water we need and how much of it goes waste.
While groundwater levels are depleting in several parts of India and drought-like situations are frequent in central and southern India, it is up to us to conserve the water at our disposal and save it in the process.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)