“Shut the water tap, don’t let water flow so easily – your money will flow the same way,” admonished my grandmother often – a true believer in water conservation. Chennai saw a large part of my growing up years, with memories of scorching summers accompanied by acute water shortage. I still recall my parents staying up late into the night, waiting for the water tanker.
Our elders always taught us to be prudent in our usage of water. Growing up like that, saving water has become second nature to my brother and me.
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Letting RO water outlet into a bucket for mopping the floors, making ten-minutes showers mandatory, reusing AC water for my plants – I follow these tips religiously.
Always curious and eager to know other water conversation techniques, I got in touch with three ladies – Delhi’s Rupali Bajpai Sheryari, Gurugram-based Vidhya Venkat and Bayiravi Mani Mangoankar from Mumbai.
These women have found interesting ways to conserve water in their homes, on an average, 80 litres per day! And interestingly, the methods that these environmentally-conscious ladies follow are almost the same.
Let’s take a look.
Tackling Bathrooms – The Water Guzzler in the House
“For several years now, I have been saving at least 100 litres of water each day. And this I accomplish by making small changes to my routine,” says Rupali who lives in Delhi.
Rupali is exceptionally conscious of her carbon footprint.
She set the tone of our conversation with, “I know that my every action has the potential to impact the environment adversely. It makes me super conscious about everything I do.”
Our discussion became much smoother after this, flowing into how small steps at home can make a difference to the environment.
“We flush only thrice in a day,” she laughs at my nonplussed face. “I mean, we use the toilet flush thrice, otherwise the rest of the time, we use the water collected in the bucket from the kitchen or the air conditioners to flush.”
On a lighter vein Rupali shares, “If I could, I would like to set up a large kiddie pool in the bathroom and every time we shower, collect that water also and use it effectively around the house. But it did not work out for me,” she chuckles heartily.
Mumbai’s Bayiravi has also been making some tweaks to her family’s routine, which helps with water conservation. What’s also interesting is how she manages that with her more than 70 plants.
For her, the use of a bucket to bathe is non-negotiable. “Even then, each adult uses about ten mugs of water, while my 6-year-old son gets to use four mugs for his bath. On the rare occasion, he gets ten mugs – it’s like a treat for him,” laughs the entrepreneur.
Furthermore, Bayiravi says that she uses the leftover water from the bath to flush the toilet.
After the Bathroom – We tackle Water Waste in the Kitchens
“When I started being conscious of the water usage in my house, the first step I took was to place a large pot in my sink,” says Rupali. I ask her how that helps and with the eagerness of a child, she explains, “The pot collects all the water from washing vegetables, hands and even utensils. This water is then used to water plants and wash the balcony.”
On an average Rupali manages to collect about two buckets in this manner and that is approximately 40 litres of water saved right there.
In Gurugram, Vidhya, an artist, is yet another conscientious individual who has been finding ways of conserving water and reusing it. She collects the wastewater from air conditioners in buckets and drums placed all over the house. Nothing goes waste here, “The water is used for mopping the house, watering my plants, and even cleaning the bathrooms,” shares Vidhya.
Reusing Water from RO Water Purifying Systems
Most households now have an RO purifying system. While it helps in ensuring we consume water free of any impurities, the purification process leads to almost three times the wastage of water than is purified.
Is there a way in which we can reuse the wastewater?
“I ensure that once the green light on the RO starts flickering, I turn off the machine. I then refill it only when the water quantity decreases. We can curtail unnecessary wastage of water,” says Vidhya.
All three ladies including yours truly are using the water from the RO for cleaning the floors, flushing toilets, washing cars and watering plants.
“All it requires are certain tweaks in our daily lives. It was a tad bit difficult in the beginning, especially to explain to the house helps why we needed to be prudent and save water. Now they are slowly making other households they work at also change their ways,” says Vidhya.
Where Rupali saves 100 litres of water each day, Bayiravi and Vidhya save close to 80 litres of water daily.
So what are you waiting for? Start collecting buckets; there is a lot of water to be saved!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)