What are the best ways to save water?
There is not a single day that we don’t hear about the water crisis in the world. Our very own Chennai is going through one recently. Even though our own country has started showing effects of water wastage, yet there are so many people who are unaffected by it, waiting for the drought to hit their house in particular so that they can start complaining about it to the government. These are the same people who have dug bore wells in their house and do not care at all about the underground water levels. These are the same people who spend hours bathing in the shower and who let the tap run all the time while brushing their teeth. These are the same people who do not get their dripping taps fixed. Here, we will discuss the water saving tips.
If you are falling in the category of these people, buck up. Or else, mother earth will show you her carelessness when it comes to your life. It is high time now that Indians who have water start realizing how privileged they are. There are people who only get water supply for two hours and then have to manage with it for the whole day. There are people who drink water out of completely unsanitary resources because their villages are not advanced enough.
Recognize your privilege and start saving water as if your life depends on it, oh wait; your life does depend on it.
Facts about water in India
Here are some frightening facts to motivate you-
According to WHO, around 38 million people in India are affected by water-borne diseases each year. Among them, 75% are children.
About 780,000 people die because of diseases caused by contaminated water.
India ranks 120 among the 122 nations on the basis of its water quality and ranks 130/180 on water availability.
The above facts are legit because they are posted by Forbes India.
According to the World Bank, 21% of diseases in India are due to unhygienic water.
Kolkata alone wastes about 50% of the water that it receives.
Bangalore stands on 49%.
60 million litres of water goes wasted daily. Even if you save 1-litre minimum, you will make a difference.
A huge amount of water wastage is caused by leaks.
Many blame farmers also. Instead of drip irrigation, they follow flood irrigation which wastes more than 35% more water as compared to what will be used in drip irrigation.
The question arises, what difference you will make? How will just one person’s sincerity save water?
It shows the most common causes of water wastage. And wastage of water by per person per litre per year tops it all with HUGE margins. So we are the main cause of water wastage. Now, let’s see how we can do that.
Simple things that you can do –
• Fix the dripping taps.
Around 50% of India’s water is wasted due to leaks. Fix any type of dripping taps in your house first and foremost. It will be a task to call the plumber but it is time that you get it done. For example, if your tap drips one drop of water every second, then it is making 5 gallons of water do gown the drain every day ! and in a year, it will be 2000 + gallons of water. Just because of an innocent looking tap. This is when it is only one tap. If you have more than 1 taps which are dripping and leaking the same way, You could be losing 100 of gallons of water per day due to leaks!
There are smarter and more eco-friendly toilets these days which release the different and lesser amount of water if you pee, and more if you poop. Go for these toilets.
Or else, a very extremely simple hack would be, to open the flush tank and put a full 1-litre bottle in it. This would reduce the volume of water used every time you flush without buying or doing much hard work. All you got to do is, to fill a bottle and place it in the tank.
By doing this simple thing, you could be saving 10 gallons of water every day!
Install faucets that have low flow
This is something no one will take care of, people open faucets on full setting and keep them running on top of that. Why waste so much water if you could just reduce the flow instead? So if you’re newly installing faucets, then go for low flow. If you already have them attached, then try to use them at a lower setting.
Attach shower heads to taps
There are small shower heads available in the market which are designed especially for the kitchen taps. Do this especially to your kitchen taps. A shower head spread water more and covers more surface area. Along with that, it leads to less splashing of water since the water flow is spread. You can refer to the section where products are mentioned if you are interested in buying one of these.
Close running taps
Although there is enough information about saving water out there, yet there are some extremely intellectual people who leave taps on full flow open! ( sarcasm intended ) so even if you are not the one who opened it, if you see a running tap, close it. This generally happens in public settings. Make water your own responsibility and close any taps you see running.
Do not treat you shower like a spa. Have a time limit and come out of it. Shorter showers will help a lot too. Instead of just standing there and letting water get wasted down the drain, make it quick and efficient. Especially when you are applying soap, shut the water off and then apply soap. Do not let the water run just like that.
Turn the faucet off while brushing. It should automatically be of great annoyance to you when your tap is running without any reason. Any water down the drain is never coming back. So brush wisely.
A good tip is to keep a mug or glass handy. Fill one glass and whenever you need to rinse your mouth, sip water from the glass! This is a great technique and you will surprisingly use around only 1 glass of water.
Washing machines and dishwashers
Buy them carefully. If you are about to buy one, then buy such an appliance which has different modes for half load, eco-friendly mode, etc.
Modern dishwashers actually save water as they promise to use lesser water than what would be used if you’re hand washing dishes.
Let them be fully loaded when you are about to wash if that is something you can incorporate in your routine.
In many water purifiers, 70% of the water is disposed and 30% of it is the pure one that we get. This means that for every 3 litres of water you drink, 7 litres of it has sacrificed itself. If you have such a water purifier that disposes water along and that disposed water pipe you have attached to the drain, then shame on you. Put that pipe into a bucket or drum and save that water! It is regular fresh water that you are dumping down the drain. After saving that water, use it too. It is not being saved to be dumped again.
If your water purifier does not dispose any separate water, then bravo! You have a cool purifier.
How to recycle water
You read it right! You can actually recycle water.
Our first suggestion is, ( as stated above ) if your water purifier disposes water, then save and use it somewhere instead of letting it down the drain.
How to do this –
Attach your purifier’s pipe to an assigned vessel. It can be a bucket, or a drum, or any kind of huge vessel which maybe has a slender top so the pipe fits well in it. If there is no space, elongate the pipe and get it attached to a vessel. You could join more pipes to the pipe with the appliance to reach farther.
Our second suggestion is that you use the dishwasher’s disposed water to water your plants. You could also use the washing machine’s disposed water for watering the plants. The detergents will not be absorbed by the plants, instead, this water might still contain some particles which may turn out to be useful for your plants. You could use the water you washed your hands into, the water you washed your dishes into, the water you washed your clothes into, the water you bathed in, etc to water your plants. This type of dirty water can easily be useful for your garden.
If you’re still not convinced, then we have a DIY method of how you can treat that water before releasing it into the garden. Check it out below.
How to do this –
Getting into terminology, the water that comes out of your bath or kitchen ( which basically contains dirty soap water ) is termed as grey water.
We will be talking about how you can treat your house’s grey water before reusing it to water plants.
Refer to this genius video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joVL70wtLAs
The guy talks about how water going from the kitchen sink goes first into an oil and grease unit. In it, the water stands still. The grease floats on top of it and they have attached a plate in a vertical direction to hold back the grease. There is a second additional chamber which also has the purpose to remove oil and grease. All the particles like rice and leftover dal from the sink settle down in this area only. Then there is a pipe which picks up water only half way below the surface water levels so that it does not pick up grease which is floating. This water goes into a new section which again is a three chamber unit. They put a bubble blower ( like an aquarium’s ) which is basically a normal pipe attached to a small motor that blows bubbles into the water. The use is that this induces oxygen which activates carbon-eating bacteria. You should watch the video so that you can understand with pictorial representation.
Then all this goes into sand implanted filter. They have mud with plants on top of them. The roots of the plants do another level of cleaning. They mainly take out the phosphates.
This treated water goes into a pond. Now this water can be used for watering plants, or this pond can be used for fishes. The fishes will keep the larvae of insects also away.
This will result in the use of around 100 litres of water every day.
If you cannot make this kind of a grease trap due to any reason, we have another grease trap as shown in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpy14I8fygk
The water first goes into a drum but passes through a filter type strainer before. A pipe is attached to half of the height so that grease –less water goes through it. The grease only floats on the top part. The waste water goes into the soak pit. Now the question arises – what is a soak pit?
Soak pit –
Refer to this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbCpGPlb9JU
Take a 1 m sized tank (the material can be plastic or cemented). The tank should have a closed bottom. Take 3 PVC pipes of 3-inch diameter. Make four 3 – inched diameter circles in the tank. The distance of these circles should be 6 inches from the top. The lid should also have a circle hole of 3-inch diameter.
Now make a 4 by 4 feet square on the ground and dig it 4 feet deep.
Make a layer of huge stones. Then place the tank in the centre and place huge stones around it. Keep some space around the holes. Attach the PVC pipe to the lid. Ensure that the pipe comes from a slope so that water flows easily.
The source of this water should be passing through a strainer so that the water pipe doesn’t clog. Look at the diagram in the video at 4:20. It will make everything clear. After you have filled huge stones till the lid, prepare a layer of very small stones. Cover it all properly with tin or maybe hard plastic because no other sort of water should flow into it. Then cover with sand. The soak pit in ready.
The water will get cleaned and will soak into the ground. This will recharge underground water levels.
One more recycling system is shown in the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWw-odYhCGo
Firstly, you should have two tanks. The tanks in the video are very small, like tubs. The first tub will be sedimentation and oil trap, the second tub will be a sand planted filter. These two tubs are interconnected through a tube or pipe. The plant used in the filter is kalvazhai which absorbs phosphates. Fill the bottom of the tub with medium sized gravel in the sand planted filter. The second layer is a smaller gravel. The third layer is filled with washed sand.
The sedimentation and oil trap tub has a partition which divides it into two sections. It should be placed on an elevated surface so that water flows easily from it to the second tub. The grey water goes into this tub and is kept to be still till the particles settle down. This goes to the second tub. The water that comes out of the second tub is treated with alum. This leads to a chemical reaction which leads to colloidal particles either floating or settling in the form of precipitates.
You can listen to Michael Pritchard’s TED talk. He talks about how to make filthy water drinkable.
He has a product for us! He introduces a life saver water bottle. All you got to do is, put the filthy water ( the water he used had sewage, mud, pond water and all kinds of other impurities ) in the bottle and just pump it a little. What you get in return is pure water! He specifically made this bottle for people who might be suffering in floods or cyclones.
The link to the TED talk is below –
Save water while watering plants –
Use drip irrigation. It is a great method to water along with saving water. It would be great if you reuse the kitchen or bath water to water plants. A simple DIY is to take a plastic bottle and make holes in it, attach it to a pipe. Simple and efficient drip irrigation method!
Consult the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiIEO7Gg1y4
You could also buy a drip irrigation system on Amazon. We will link it in the products section.
No matter what, do not use flood irrigation method to water your garden. If your water from a pipe, specifically water each plant and do not water more than necessary.
Government schemes to save water –
According to http://mowr.gov.in/government-initiatives, the following initiatives have been taken
- mazhaPolima ( participatory good recharge programme ) Thrissur district, Kerela
- Best practices of ground water harvesting in different parts of India(state departments and local bodies initiatives)
- Best practices of ground water harvesting in different parts of India (state government initiatives )
- Rajasthan makes rapid strides in water conservation
- Pani panchayats for water management
- Tackling drought through farm ponds
- Ganga gram – a step forward ( seechewal model )
- Groundwater levels rise in Chittoor, locals and farmers benefit
- Two blocks of Odisha get water round the year, people rejoice.
Rain water harvesting
It can get as simple as just placing all your vessels like tubs, buckets and other containers in the rain to completely professional rainwater harvesting.
The easiest thing to do is to put a tub with a wide surface area into the rain when it starts raining and then use it later. This is like a small yet useful step that you can take.
To go professional, you can get a whole harvesting plant professionally built in your house.
A medium method is to install a rain barrel like a drum to save water that comes from the pipes from your roof.
You could also get a small pond made in your garden which must be covered from other impurities. You must attach a straining system so that the water that goes does not bring other substances along with it.
Code of conduct outside your house
As simple as it sounds, just keep water bodies clean. It is not only about saving your house water, but the water bodies also need to be kept clean too. Do not wash clothes in rivers, do not dump wastes in the water, etc are your parts when it comes to keeping water bodies clean.
People go on beaches and dispose all sorts of wastes into the ocean instead of throwing them in the dustbins. If you can’t go and volunteer to clean beaches, at least don’t litter them.
If you live in a coastal area, you can volunteer with SHUDDI which is an NGO initiated and funded by National Geography. These people go in the morning on Sundays usually to clean beaches. You will also get refreshments and other amenities like shirts, gloves, etc. currently they are working in Mumbai at Juhu beach. They have many branches in other cities as well.
There is nothing more fulfilling that doing volunteer work to save your earth. As mentioned above, you can contact an NGO named SHUDDI which is affiliated to national geography. You can volunteer on Sundays to clean beaches of your city. They even clean rivers. Just try volunteering once in your life. You will feel satisfied.
Products that will help you save water –
- Shower head
We have talked earlier about its uses but we will repeat them for you. There are small shower heads available in the markets which are designed especially for the kitchen taps. Do this especially to your kitchen taps. A shower head spreads water more and covers more surface area. Along with that, it leads to less splashing of water since the water flow is spread. You can refer to the following links to buy them on Amazon –
- SNAPCOM Kitchen Faucet Adjustable Tap Extender Faucet Saving Water for Kitchen Water Outlet Shower Head Water Filter Sprinkler
- Electomania 360 Rotate Faucet Nozzle Filter Adapter Tap Aerator Spray Water Saving Bubbler Swivel Shower Head Device for Kitchen Bath
- BESTONZON ABS Silicone and Stainless Steel, 360 Degree Rotating Water-Saving Sprinkler Faucet Pressurizing Kitchen Accessory (8.5 x 5.5 x 2.5 cm, White)
- Aryshaa Plastic Kitchen and Bathroom Tap Shower Sprinkler Shower Head Water Fountain Washing Filter Faucet, Set of 3
- Egab Flexible Faucet Sprayer (6 inches, Silver)
These you will need if you are planning to make any of the above DIYs
- Truphe Garden Pipe, Garden Hose Water Pipe, PVC Pipe – 0.5 Inch / 10 Meters With Hose Connector
- Zephyr Next-gen Garden Hose (1/2″ x 50ft, Ultra-Light Flexible Rubber, Brass Fittings), Blue
- Drums or barrels
These you will need if you’re planning to follow any of the above DIYs
- Sai Plastic SriSai Naturals Water Storage Container Without Lock, 75L Capacity (Blue)
- DELHI TRADERSS Plastic Water over Flow Tank Alarm with Voice Sound (Black)
- Aristo Multipurpose Plastic Storage Bucket 32 LTR (Yellow)
- Global enterprises Stainless Steel Corrosion Resistant Drum for Storing Water/ Any Item (30 L)
- Life saver water bottle
It is a 2 in 1 bottle. It filters as well as lets you store water.
5.Drip irrigation kits