Bangalore is having unusually high temperatures this year. Much more than many cities of North India. There is an acute shortage of water as rivers and reservoirs are almost dry. This is due to multiple reasons, all related and having a cumulative effect. Unnecessary rapid constructions leading to huge water usage and cutting of trees which in turn increases draught. People cannot remedy this by themselves as it needs governing bodies to act fast. Easier said than done in present situation.
What we as residents of Bangalore can do is to save and reuse water very carefully till the monsoons arrive. According to the weatherman this year’s monsoon is going to be great. So till then following are some easy tips to save and decrease the use of water in our homes.
These tips don’t need extra constructions nor does it compromise on the quality of water and safety of one’s health (STP water). All it needs is a little planning and few minutes of one’s time.
Soaking Dishes– First and most important step towards saving water in the kitchen is to soak dirty dishes. The water to soak can be recycled from dishwasher (if u have one), washing machine, rinsing of fruits/vegetables/ grains or even the AC condensation water. Used lemon rinds/ vinegar can be added to water to remove the grease. Once soaked and all food particles dissolved dishes don’t need much water to clean. A twin sink is very useful in saving water. In one section dirty dishes can be soaked and in other they can be lathered and rinsed. If twin sink is not available old bucket or plastic tub can be used for soaking.
Domestic helps waste a lot of water and have to be taught to save water. Though not so popular but a dishwasher saves a lot of water in washing utensils. Water coming out of dishwasher can be recycled for soaking and cleaning other dishes.
Save RO reject water – RO water purifiers wastes different amount of water which is perfect to be used for cleaning, washing clothes and utensils as its slightly more harder than tap water and can be used wherever we use tap water. A closed barrel or bucket connected to RO waste pipe can do the work. Found a innovative way to save RO water in a group in FaceBook.
Plugged sink– There are lot of instances where we rinse things for few seconds under the tap like rinsing a spoon or a knife or an apple. Water which seems very little if added all day can be few buckets. Keeping sink plugged will store this water in the sink and can be used for soaking dishes or siphoned off to water plants, mop floor, clean car or used for flushing toilets. All you need is a siphoning tube and sink plug.
Washing machines are the thirstiest devices in a home. A normal top load machine uses somewhere between 120-150 liter of water for wash of three cycles. Front load ones use half of the water but even pushing 80 liter of almost good water down the drain is a sin when people out there don’t get even 5 glasses to drink.
All of it can be saved and used according to the detergent level in it. All one need to do is put the washing machine on a raised level, platform/ stand of about half a meter and collect the water which comes out. Detergent cycle water can be used for flushing, rinsing water can be used for mopping, car cleaning, soaking dirty dishes or the last cycle can be used as a first cycle of second load. Its water from one’s own use and not STP water which needs very stringent monitoring and can cause lots of diseases. Independent houses have done it by installing a storage tank and pump system for sending it for flushing. Apartments which don’t have such systems in place can store the water in a barrel and pump it to a small wall mounted tank connected to the flush. This kind of arrangement can be done under 10K with a small pump, storage tanks and piping. Good thing about it is that it can be done in a rented apartment too as one will not need to construct a permanent system. A little bit of powdered alum in storage tanks will make dirt and other impurities in the water settle at the bottom. Click here to see the diagram and approximate cost of such a system.
People who prefer hand-washing can directly store the buckets of water used, in a barrel and use it within a day. People using herbal washing aid like sopanut can use the water in garden and to replenish the ground water reserves.
Using a shower tub is not popular in India where the bathing water can be collected and later siphoned off to flush. In our present condition changing to bucket bath is the best option as showers waste a lot of water. Inflatable tubs can be purchased to collect the shower water for recycling. All options like low flow rate showers taps are useless as we don’t stop at the right time. Fixed amount of water for every use is the need of the day.
Water from kids’ inflatable pool/tubs can be recycled too. Reducing the water per flush and connecting the sink tube to flush can also save a lot of water.
When recycling grey water one has to be careful not to store such water for more than a day as bacterial and fungal growth can lead to health problems. There are chlorine and other water purification tablets which can be added to the storage tanks accordingly.
Hope everyone picks up at least one of these tips to save water.