28th October 2017, New Indian Express: ECOLOGIC- Pavitra Sriprakash, the Chief Designer and Director of Shilpa Architects writes on smart ways to conserve water.
Ways to reduce water usage to the last trickle
Reduce Reuse Recycle. Arguably this mantra of the 3R’s has been done to death, but when it comes to using water judiciously we need to modify to Reduce Reduce Reduce! Way before we get to Reuse or Recycle.
The thumb rule for calculation is based on an average person’s consumption of say, 130 Liters per day of water. This works out to about 650L per household of five people. Those who live in apartments are well versed with the pain points during association meetings over water usage and metering. That has been the case because fitting water meters has not become the norm (like is the case for electricity or gas, where the meter determines usage which is the basis for billing)
Instead, archaic methods exist for calculating water tariffs which are random and arbitrary. Many of the disagreements stem over the fact that there is no data and no method of measuring the actual usage of water per person or per unit. So then comes the point, when there is no way of measuring how much water is being consumed, how does one raise invoices?
There are ways to measure water usage and water metering is finally at a point where it is getting ‘smart’. With data provided by such meters, it is now possible to conserve water and reduce the amount of water consumed within an individual apartment. It is also possible to call water tankers and manage supplies as the entire system is sensor based and anyone can track water usage and provide alerts to start and/or cut off once water levels in tanks reach set levels.
Tracking water usage can accurately pinpoint the number of liters used per day. It is possible through data analysis to even break down the types of water usage such as for flushes, showers, washing machines and other faucets.
In case of leaks and mal-functioning fixtures, detection is easy and an alarm to inform a plumber immediately can be prog-ramed into the Building Mana-gement System! A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, or 5,500 litres of water a year.
Simple checks we can do in our homes
Turn off the tap when brushing teeth can save six litres of water per minute.
Showers can use anything between six and 45 litres per minute. An aerated shower head which combines water and air, or inserting a regulator in the shower, puts an upper limit on flow rates.
The ‘bucket bath’ is a great way to conserve water. Adding one every few days a week is an easy measure to save water.
When using appliances like washing machine or dishwasher — always load the machine to capacity as this cuts out unnecessary washes in between.
About the author
Pavitra Sriprakash (@pavisriprakash), the Director and Chief Designer of Shilpa Architects, is an Architectt, Urban Designer, Dancer and Artist. She writes a weekly sustainability column for The New Indian Express titled ECOLOGIC.