Bracing for summer

Bracing for summer

Water conservation

Bracing for summer

Come summer and there are primarily two issues that Bengalureans have to deal with — erratic electricity supply and water scarcity. An impending water crisis is  staring the citizens in the face and many people are taking  steps to conserve this precious resource and minimise wastage.

The most popular water conservation measures are installing water harvesting units in homes and using compost for plants. These two measures are not only cost-effective but also ensure that water is reused efficiently.

Experts feel well-planned neighbourhood initiatives and  household efforts will go a long way in helping mitigate summer woes.

Dr T V Ramachandra, Associate Faculty, Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning, Indian Institute of Science, feels that although citizens have started saving water, more needs to be done to spread awareness among environmentally illiterate sections  of the society.

“As per our study, environmental literacy  is only 3.5 percent. This means only a small fraction of our population understands the need for water conservation and minimising wastages,” he says.

According to him, some of the effective measures to save water could be the installation of rainwater harvesting units at household levels, ensuring recharge pits and maintaining greenery in the locality and seeing that water in the locality is not contaminated either due to dumping of solid or liquid wastes or open defecation.

A champion for protecting the green cover, Ramachandra thinks people must take to composting in a serious way.  “Compost not only provides the required nutrients, it also  retains the moisture due to its fibre content. It also improves soil quality,” he elaborates.  
There are many others who also extol the benefits of composting. Anil Ravindran, an employee with Accenture, pursues urban farming as a hobby. He devotes his spare time to cultivating and maintaining a terrace garden which has about 150 varieties of plants.
Anil says the easiest way to save water is to use the kitchen waste as compost for the

 “The kitchen waste, like vegetable peels, doesn’t go into the bin but into the compost bucket. When you add compost to soil, it increases the water retention capacity of the soil and saves one the trouble of having to water the plants often,” says Anil.

Another method used by Anil to conserve water is  mulching, which involves using dried organic matter as a layering for the plant. “We buy dry leaves from a park in the vicinity and use it for the plants. This reduces the loss of water from the soil and prevents direct sunlight from falling on it,” he adds.

In addition to these measures, Anil, also saves the water that is wasted from the RO
water purifier and uses it for other purposes.   Anantharam K R has installed a mini rainwater harvesting units in their homes. He decided to install this two years ago, after the water
supply in his area began to slow down.

“The rainwater harvesting unit is directly connected to the sump. It has been adjusted in such a way that rainwater from the terrace filters straight into the sump,” he says. “Before the rains arrive we first clean the terrace. The rainwater collected on the terrace is discarded for about five minutes to let the dirt out before it is reconnected to the sump,” he explains.
The city has a sizable number of people who maintain a terrace garden. Raji Sudheer, a medical practitioner and resident of Annasandrapalya Main Road, Ramesh Nagar,
Vimanapura, has about 25 varieties of flowering plants and 50 vegetable plants on
her terrace. 

“We use coco peat and organic manure, which is easily available at any organic store. We mix this together in water and add it to the plants. This retains water in the plants which indirectly helps us conserve water,” says Raji. She adds that waste water from
the water filter is collected and used to water the plants.

There are several organic stores in the city that sell coco peat and other organic manure but the foremost promoters of these products is The Nurserymen Co-operative Society in Lalbagh. Channe Gowda, secretary of the Society, confirms that coco peat is one among the
fastest moving products at their store.  “Organic manure and coco peat sell almost double the amount during summer. When mixed in plants, it helps retains water, improves the quality of the soil and doesn’t require regular watering. Our largest customers are those who live in apartments,” he informs.