Bengalureans leading the way in tackling water crisis

Picture credit: commons.wikipedia.org

Every summer, water, or rather the lack of it, always becomes the topic of concern in Bengaluru. Recently, 670 Bengalureans signed a petition launched by the Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF) to conserve water through various measures, keeping in mind the current water crisis the city is currently facing. This petition was for the citizens as opposed to the usual address to the authorities.

DH had earlier reported that BAF, which represents over 70,000 apartments, had also conducted the BAFHalfBucketChallenge, a social media campaign urging its members to bathe in half a bucket of water to tackle the issue of water shortage. Their objective is to generate consciousness about water preservation among citizens.

In this petition, the residents are provided with certain suggestions which could prove to be beneficial considering that Bengaluru is in the throes of a water crisis with erratic supply of Cauvery water and groundwater running dry in several places. Suggestions included installations of smart water meters, installation of tap aerators in taps, simple but effective measures like checking taps and faucets for leaks, using washing machines with only full load, cleaning vehicles without water, collecting RO waste water for household cleaning and so on.

There have been initiatives taken up by various citizen-based associations and organisations to collectively come up with solutions for this problem which holds long-term implications.

ADDA, a company that offers an integrated apartment management software for gated communities, organised a water workshop, a third of its kind to find solutions to the water crisis. It brought to light several ongoing sustainable water management measures.

With a focus on gated communities, representatives of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), citizen groups and activists met on March 23, at the The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) campus, Domlur, to seek solutions to the ongoing water crisis- monitoring of water consumption in apartment complexes, avoiding the usage of showers while bathing and working with Ward Committees to ensure proper drainage system to name a few. Improvement in utilisation of existing rainwater harvesting programmes and digging of wells to recharge groundwater are essential steps to be implemented.

Whitefield Rising (WFR) is a civic group which has regularly made conscious and sustained efforts to rejuvenate lakes in Whitefield and to organise workshops on water management. Their emphasis has been on the need to reuse water and to set up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in the area. STP-treated water can be used in gardens and car washing and dual piping installation can help in using the treated water for toilet flushing.

The theory of ‘Ecowaternomics’ is widely discussed by almost every association aiming to make the situation better for future generations. It looks at the economics of using less water from two angles – using less and reusing more.

True to its identity as a tech and start-up hub, Bengaluru has had innovations that could go a long way in tackling the issue at hand. Biome Environmental Solutions is another Bengaluru-based design firm having an expertise in providing knowledge services water management and rainwater harvesting, ecological wastewater treatment and sanitation practices, highlights limiting citizens’ demand for water since relying on the supply side was not a sustainable solution.

SmarterHomes by Vivek Shukla (helps users track water usage), OpenWater.In by Sanjiv Sambadan, IISc professor (converts waste water to potable water) and the like have opened up new doors.

Importance of individual contributions towards saving water cannot be overlooked. Furthermore, there is a need to engage knowledge partners, authorities and citizens in conversation to bring about real change and prevent the water issue from spiraling out, beyond our control.

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