Water conservation: Need of the hour
Dr Abhay Kumar reminds us of the ways to make every drop count
With the present state of consumption and depletion of natural resources, striking a balance in the ecosystem is indisputably the need of the hour. Safe drinking water which is a basic necessity for healthy living has become a luxury in many Indian households, especially in semi urban and rural areas. According to the recent estimates and projections by United Nations (UN),783 billion people around the world do not have access to safe and healthy drinking water and around 1.8 billion individuals drink contaminated water which puts them at a risk of contracting water borne diseases like cholera, jaundice, typhoid etc.
In order to address this, the most widely known initiative, World Water Day, is celebrated every year on March 22 to bring to people’s notice the issues pertaining to availability of safe drinking water, the need for water conservation and the solutions that one can look at to tackle the water crisis situation in the country. The use and demand for water has grown manifold across various sectors due to rising disposable incomes and spending power among Indians. In spite of this shooting demand, there is a major mis-match in demand and supply of water in India. Most cities and towns in the country face the challenge of acute water scarcity.
Having said this, the major problem concerning the drinking water space is not only the severe water contamination threat and depletion of water reservoirs, but also the lack of awareness among people about availability of right water purification technology. One needs to understand that there is no one particular solution or technology that can purify water in different areas of the country. In addition, while the use of technology and advancement of science can provide ready solutions, sometimes traditional time-tested ways can help fulfill the requirements of people in a much more effective way.
Below are few easy and simple tips that one can follow to conserve water, this world water day:
Choose the right water purification technology: Several research and studies have shown that India has varying water conditions and clearly there is not one single technology which can purify water in every region. Use of RO water purification in (low TDS) areas where it is not required, leads not only to ‘de-mineralised water’ but also adds to water wastage. There is wastage of 7 glasses of drinking water for one glass of pure/ healthy drinking water. The solution here lies in choosing the right water purification technology to avoid water wastage from the purifier.
Opt for efficient home appliances: Invest in a faucet aerator, choose efficient shower heads and opt for high efficiency dishwashers and washing machines which use less water and can add up to large water saving.
Reuse and refill: Don’t grab a new glass or bottle each time you drink water. Refill the one you already have, it will help in cutting down the number of glasses you wash each day, thus saving more amount of water.
Protect ground water resources: Contamination of ground water decreases the replenishment of available fresh water. Nearly, 70 per cent of our country’s irrigation and 80 per cent of domestic water use comes from groundwater, which is rapidly getting depleted. Avoid using pesticides or chemical fertilisers in home as it poses serious threat to one’s health and pollute both ground and surface water.
Treat waste water: Technologies associated with waste water management are constantly evolving and has become the main focus of a large number of scientists, technologists and water professionals around the world. It includes processes and strategies which are aimed at reducing the reaction time, plant footprints and cost of the treatment. By treating and using waste water as a resource you can reduce on water bills and use it for other household purposes.
There are various other methods too which are practiced in various different combinations. With a lot of areas suffering from water scarcity, it may be time to revisit some methods to help innovate new ways of revival.
The writer is the Chief Scientific Officer, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment
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