The current situation in Mumbai and Chennai is the biggest irony that India is witnessing. While one city is wading ankle-deep in water, the other is importing water with the rivers, lakes and groundwater tables going dry.
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Dig deeper into the water scarcity of Chennai and how its residents are carrying out their daily activities and one will realise the degree of desperation. Many residents are shelling out double the usual amount to private water tankers, underlines an NDTV report.
Interestingly, Chennai apartments within 15 metres of any freshwater resources are mandated to have Rain Water Harvesting structures. There are more than 1,400 water bodies in the Chennai Metropolitan Area, and if every apartment had followed the guideline, then, perhaps, the city would not have been parched right now.
However, it is not too late for you to implement effective water management strategies to prevent water shortages in urban spaces. If you are a potential apartment buyer, then here are five factors to keep in mind to meet your water needs:
1) Sources of Water
Sources of water supply vary from one city to another. For instance, Delhi is primarily dependent on rivers Yamuna and Ganga, Chennai relies on groundwater and so does Bengaluru along with the water from Cauvery river, and Mumbai meets the requirements from its lakes.
So you must inquire for how long the groundwater tables can sustain if the quality is likely to deteriorate due to water pollution and if there is a provision that can recharge the underground water.
If you are in a city that is entirely dependent on its natural water bodies, then be ready to experience a water shortage in case of scanty rainfall. Chennai did not receive sufficient rain in 2018 and, a year later, the city is suffering.
2) Water Metres To Monitor Water Consumption
Just like the role that report cards play in a student’s life, a water metre in your building can motivate you to perform better vis-a-vis your water consumption habits.
Even if you manage to install a metre in your house to use water judiciously, the effort will be defeated if your neighbours are reckless in water consumption. A system of checks and balances can show you how much water can be saved every day.
Installing water metres in every flat was one of the three reasons how ‘The Greens’ society comprising of 171 flats in Bengaluru managed to cut their Rs 16 lakh water bill by half. Read how.
3) Is Waste-Water Recycled to Meet Demands
Recycling grey water is another reason why The Greens Society is succeeding in water management. An initial investment in a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is helping the residents save 2-3 tankers of water every day. The recycled grey water is used for gardening and flushing purposes.
Find out if the apartment has invested or is likely to invest in an STP to meet water demands for toilets, washing utensils and cars, and watering plants. In an era where the availability of freshwater is getting more and more uncertain, reusing the waste water can be the smart thing to do.
4) Rain Water Harvesting
From Mumbai, Bengaluru to Chennai, water authorities in urban areas are gradually making installation of RWH system mandatory in apartment buildings. As per Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Rules, 2018, builders will get permission to construct a complex of 100 square metres or more only if RWH structures are provided in the plan.
Harvesting rainwater is the simplest and most effective alternatives to using freshwater supply. Of course, the rainwater might not be sufficient for an entire year, but it can meet water demands for a couple of months depending on the capacity of the structure and the consumption. Besides meeting water demands, it can reduce water bills as well.
Here is a case study of how residents in Chennai have adapted the simple method of storing every drop of water.
5) Water-Saving Devices
As a resident of an apartment that receives sufficient water daily, it is important to be water efficient at an individual level as well. You can do so by installing water-saving tap adaptors that control the flow of water. Water aerators have the potential to cut down the water discharged, from six litres per minute to just 2-3 litres.
The biggest advantage of water aerators is that it does not use space, is a one-time investment and can be done in a hassle-free manner. While some builders provide this system, you can also give it a consideration.
Alpa Gala, a resident of Mumbai has helped close to 7,000 families in the city cut down water wastage by 60 per cent just by installing a water aerators. Read more here.
India’s demand for water is likely to be twice than its supply by 2030 points out a NITI Aayog report. This means that millions of people, including you, in the country will face severe water crisis and around 6 per cent of India’s GDP will be negatively affected.
In such a grave situation, conserving water becomes the need of the hour and it is up to how socially conscious you can be in your actions.
Featured Image Source: Svein T veitdal/Twitter