‘In the times of the global COVID-19 outbreak. A drop of water stored, could be a life saved!”
India and the entire world has joined hands to fight the novel COVID-19 virus outbreak. It has left nations reeling and its citizens floundering for answers. Keeping this in mind, the need of the hour is global awareness of giving utmost importance to personal hygiene and washing hands with soap regularly. Which is why, the theme of World Water Day on 22nd March is rightly – SafeHands. The burning questions to ponder, “Will our global resources and needed change ensure that the supply of water is always more than the demand for water? What would happen in regions that have scarcity of water? What can we as responsible citizens do from our end to save every drop of water, so we do not run short of our most precious of natural resources- water!” says Ayeshaa Dodeja, Kitchen Studio.
Since time immemorial, water has been a power drink, to survive, to thrive and to enhance our mind, body and soul. In ancient India, prayers like the Gayatri mantra were done standing inside water and worshipping the rising Sun. It is believed this practice illumines the soul from within creating radiance and intellect from within. Not only India, the world over water has been a life giver and a life enhancer. Ancient civilizations in Egypt thrived around the Nile river.
As the years passed, water too was used and abused and went through the troughs of the economies of demand and supply. In our times, with the world being ravaged by natural and manmade disasters one at a time, Water too, like gold is on its way to becoming a precious commodity. To add, currently India and the entire globe is unified in fighting the new Covid-19 outbreak that has left our very lives in the lurch. The question we put forth is ‘will our global resources and needed change ensure that the supply of water is always more than the demand for water? What would happen in regions that has scarcity of water?’ Are we prepared? Come summer, it will only get worse. What are the small measures that every one of us can take at a time like this to ‘save water’ – ‘save ourselves’ as Mumbaikars.
Can we follow the footsteps of Cape Town?
In 2018, Cape Town sounded warning bells for water scarcity in the region. Water dried up drastically; wildlife in national reserves culled to ensure there isn’t a fight for survival with regards to water. In five star hotels, showers would work only for a stipulated time to conserve water. The city was only 90 days away from going dry. Fast forward to the present scenario, Cape Town’s near empty dams are now more than 80 % full and the dreaded Day Zero never came!
Cape Towners worked in unison to draft water saving initiatives for their city. People were instructed not to use the showers for more than 2 minutes; this in itself saved many litres of water as a whole. Usage of recycled water – grey water was incorporated. In addition, water usage was curtailed to 50 litres a day at the maximum for residents. This was widely shared on social media which unified people even in the most remote parts of Cape Town. The world took notice of the case for Cape Town and this global curiosity fuelled positivity for the residents of Cape Town even further. Cape Town put many strict curbs on limiting the volume of water allowed and what it was used for. Filling water for use in swimming pools, water fountains and washing cars, was banned. Huge fines were imposed on homes using high volume of water. By hiking water taxes, demand too was curtailed in a unique way. A novel method used was by reducing the water pressure, which reduced overall consumption and also decreased water loss through leaks. Strict limits on agricultural water quotas were introduced. With quick thinking, use of social media and a unified togetherness a major water crisis was averted in Cape Town.
Closer to home, Mumbai which has a 13 million population and is the recipient of water from its life-giving lakes in and around the city has a looming water crisis waiting to happen. Imagine if aamchi Mumbai had to go through such a scenario for even a year, what would happen to the average Mumbaikar? And this makes one think what measures can be taken to ensure this never ever happens to Mumbai.
Here are a few steps in promoting household water conservation. This raises the awareness of the salience of water saving, as well as provides practical advice on how to save water at home and Become Water Wise Mumbai!’
Education begins at Home
Though Mumbai schools do their bit to ensure their wards are schooled in water conservation from an early age, it is at home, that kids follow the example that their parents set. Parents must set an example, by conserving water. Always!
- Using water saving faucets that stifle water flow in kitchen basins for starters would greatly help.
- Not using the shower for more than 2 minutes.
- Reducing water during car cleaning.
- Frowning upon the use of fun and frolic in tubs and Jacuzzis.
- If available, ensuring their home has an in-built rainwater harvesting system. Now-a-days societies, get a heavy tax holiday if they practise rainwater harvesting.
- In the kitchen, keeping a water pressure unit which regulated the water pressure flow keeping it at a low level to ensure water isn’t wasted.
- Use the washing machine prudently, every alternate day.
- Plug every leakage in your home and society and in water pipes in the city as 40 % of the water is lost due to leakages every day.
Glass Half Full or Portion Controlling
Restaurants could serve only half a glass of water instead of a full glass. As patrons more often than not, leave the water or drink only half the glass. The other half is thrown.
Mumbaikars must imbibe the best practices from a city like Cape Town and use their experience to ensure that the supply of water for the average Mumbaikar remains more than the demand. We owe this to our parents, to ourselves and to our children! The world is watching.