ECOLOGIC : Let’s be water warriors to save every drop

16-Apr-2019: Pavitra Sriprakash, Director and Chief Designer at Shilpa Architects Planners Designers writes a weekly column on Sustainability for The New Indian Express titled “ECOLOGIC”. This week she writes about “Let’s be water warriors to save every drop”.

Full article below: (Also available at The New Indian Express Website)

Let’s be water warriors to save every drop

Chennai has been abuzz with news of our reservoirs going dry. With the zero day for water fast approaching, people are getting into a crisis mode by sinking deeper borewells as traditional wells have started drying up. The reason for the water shortage this season is attributed to a poor monsoon as well as the lack of summer showers.

Both these phenomena can be linked to climate change and the overall change in the water balance due to water vapour and the effects of increased heat in our atmosphere. Though these problems sound larger than you and me — the effect of all of our collective actions is the root cause of all these changes. Any change we make as an individual has a larger collective impact on our cities and on the Earth.

As the CMWSSB starts making measures to reduce supply to individual homes, there are water saving measures that we can implement as well. Even if your home has an alternate supply of water (such as ground water or a well which still has water for example), you should save water as saving water and reducing wastage is a common responsibility towards future generations. Whether you’re washing your clothes, taking a bath, shaving, brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, there are several simple ways that will help you save water. Here are some easy-to-implement ideas.

The bathroom is a place that contributes to the largest consumption of water in a household. You can start by fixing any leaks. Known or unknown leaks in taps, pipes and toilets can result in a staggering 11,000 liters of water being wasted cumulatively — this is almost one full load of water in a standard tanker. Other simple measures include turning off the tap while washing hands, shaving or brushing, flushing or taking a shower for a shorter duration or even better, switching to the good old bucket and mug in times of shortage. Changes to the plumbing such as updating an old cistern with a dual flush system or installing aerators to all taps and faucets, can also help.



Small changes in the kitchen can help save a lot of water too. RO water purifiers waste approximately 3L of water for every 1L it purifies. This is a lot of wastage and this water can be collected and re-used for chores around the home like washing cars, mopping outdoor areas and even watering some plants. You may also want to consider switching to a more efficient system like Gravity Based Purifiers or UV/UV+UF water purifiers. You can save water while washing dishes by not leaving the water running. Use a full sink or a pan with water to minimise the usage of water for rinsing. A similar pan, instead of running water, can be used to wash vegetables and fruits.

Remember that each wash cycle in a standard top loading machine uses anywhere between 150-170L per wash. This can be reduced by 50% just by switching to a model which has a higher efficiency rating. Front loading machines tend to use even further less water and electricity — an added saving! Never run a machine with less than a full load of clothes and optimise washing where possible.Think about the water you use; the city and the world needs each of us to be our own water warriors — fighting to save every drop!