Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink’ — these lines by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in ‘The Rime of The Ancient Mariner’ are relevant even now.
Given the water crisis that the city is experiencing, Bengalureans are following precautionary measures to keep a check on water consumption.
On the occasion of World Water Day, they talk about their concerns and methods of water conservation.
This year, the theme is ‘Why waste water?’, which is about reducing and reusing ‘waste water’.
Claire Rao, a resident of Malleswaram, says, “Be it for preparing food like rice or millets that require a lot of water to cook or for washing cotton clothes, water usage needs to be computed carefully.”
Instead of using a water hose for cleaning the car or for gardening, Claire makes sure to use a bucket.
“Water used to wash rice or vegetables can be safely used to water plants,” she says.
“In fact, waste water from the kitchen can be used for other purposes as well,” she adds.
Keeping a check on the amount of water used is the best way to conserve water, says Medha Dixit, a resident of JP Nagar, who makes sure that her family members use the ‘bucket plan’ too.
“Flushing the toilet consumes a lot of water. Thus we make sure that the water used to wash clothes is used for the same,” she details.
Medha uses buckets with varied measurements, which helps in calculating the total consumption.
She also uses glass bottles to store water for drinking purpose. “Water stored in plastic bottles has to be thrown away if it is not used the same day. I use this water to clean the sink or the floor,” she adds.
Reusing ‘used water’ is very important, says Vishwanath S, a water recycling practitioner.
“This can be segregated into two components — grey water and black water. Grey water is water which comes from bathrooms and washing machines. It can be used for watering plants and mopping the floor. Black water comes from the toilet and the kitchen,” he details.
Bengaluru generates 1,080 million litres of used water per day and this needs to be put back into the city’s cycle of consumption, he adds. “The best way is to collect and treat all base water, leave it to constructed wetland (artificial wetland) which will further clean the nitrates, phosphates and heavy metals in the water and fill the lakes. The lakes will recharge the groundwater,” he says.
The groundwater is a common property resource but is unevenly distributed across the city.
Sharachchandra Lele, senior fellow and convenor with Centre for Environment & Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), says, “Those who have functioning borewells should share them with those whose wells have failed or where the BWSSB supply is declined.”
“By avoiding things like daily car washing or using hose to clean driveways, one can easily cut down the 130 litres per capita consumption to 100, which in turn would help others,” he explains.
He adds that BBMP parks could also use treated water for their landscapes and make borewells inside their premises available for people to come and collect water from.