Need of the hour
What if the World saw people living in poverty, not merely as recipients of aid but as catalysts for change? What if most disadvantaged were actually empowered to be the change makers to better their own lives, thus, freeing them selves to achieve their full potential. For that, in 2010, the UN recognized ‘The Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation’ as a ‘Human Right’ that is essential for life and above all ‘Human Rights’.
The country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available by 2030 and the ‘Sustainable Development Goal i.e. SDG6’ aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of ‘Water for All ‘ by 2030. Though 70% of the earth is covered with water, only 2% of it is fresh water. Further, complicating the issue is that 1.6% of the fresh water is contained in Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps. With the planet’s second largest population at 1.3 billion and expecting further a growth of 1.7 billion by 2050, our country finds itself unable to serve the vast majority of that populace with safe drinking water. Supporting 16% of the World’s inhabitants is a daunting task. And it is even more so when recognized that the maximum population is crammed into an area one third the size of United States, that too possessing only 4% of the World’s Fresh Water. Reports warn that 21 Indian Cities will run out of water by 2020 like Shimla crisis seen the last summers. 163 million Indians lack access to Safe Drinking Water. India is on the verge of being declared as a ‘Water Deficit’ country as the statistics reflect that the ‘Average Annual Per Capita’ availability has fallen by 15% between2001-2011. It is predicted to fall another 13% by 2025 and 15% again by 2050; which means that in another 30 years each Indian Household will have about 1.1 million liter of water per year down from 1.8 million liter in 2011. And a country is considered to be suffering from ‘Water Scarcity’ when availability is less than 1 million liter per capita per year and our country will reach that number by 2050.
More than half of the rivers in our country are highly polluted with several others at levels considered unsafe for drinking purpose by safety standards probably because of lack of stringent regulations in respect of ‘Industrial Waste Disposal’ Depleting ‘Ground Water’ reserves at unsustainable rate which accounts for 40% of ‘Water Supply’ and that too contaminated with Arsenic and Fluoride both and Uranium contamination in ‘Aquifer’ drawn ‘Ground Water’ in 16 States.
CAUSES OF WATER SCARCITY
* We degrade our soils, poison our land and remove the natural catchments or run off through deforestation and removal of trees.
* Destroying natural Eco-System by filling our water way in the name of development and progress.
* We completely upset the Natural Scheme of the nature that water needs to flow and filter clean water for us all.
* Billions of people coming on this planet over the next few decades because of uncontrolled population growth.
We assume as if water will always be there for us.
* Roughly takes 300 Liters of water to make the paper for just one Sunday Newspaper.
* On an average, women in Africa and Asia need to walk 3.7 miles to collect water.
* In India water borne diseases cost the economy 73 million working days per year.
Global sales of bottled water account for $60-$80 billion each year.
* A child dies of water borne diseases about every 50 seconds in developing world.
* Nearly 3 billion people (40% of Global Population) live in areas where demand outstrips supply.
* Nearly 1 billion people around the Globe survive on just one hallon a day.
Nearly half of the world will be short of water by 2025.
Probably the war of 21st Century will be fought over water.
Conservation of water at micro level Integration of GREEN; BLUE AND GREY Infrastructure.
Is an approach to water management that protects and restores the natural water cycle.
* Planning new forests, reconnecting rivers to flood plains and restore Wet Lands by using vegetation, soils and other elements to rebalance the erstwhile disturbed water cycle.
Blue infrastructure : It is associated with development and restoration of water bodies; building reservoirs; using rain water harvesting techniques and reducing losses due to evaporation as has been done in Gujarat by installing Solar Panels on the Water Way of the Canal.
* Concept of Grey Infrastructures includes Pipes, pumps, ditches and detention Ponds engineered by people to manage Storm Water or Waste Water, which, if managed, can be affordable and sustainable source of water and energy too.
Conservation of water at macro level- Municipal Water Drinking – Managing the purified water.
* Water for toilet Flushing and garden irrigation – Managing Roof Top Rain Water.
* Water for Farm Irrigation – Managing Surface Run off.
* Reuse of Water – Managing the storm water.
Conservation of water at house hold level- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth; can save 200 liters of water every month.
* Turn off the water during lathering the hands for washing.
* Consider purchasing a low flush toilet with a saving rule in your bathroom.
* “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down”.
* Install a Low Flow Shower head and always keep your showers as short as possible.
* Don’t fill the Bath Tub up any higher than necessary. Consider saving the water for your plants.
* Use your Washing Machine only when it is filled to its total. Can save about 4500 Liters of water per month.
* Avoid using a Shower. Instead use a Bucket, can help saving 150-200 Liters per day.
* Use Sprinkler for watering if you have a Large Garden.
* Ensure that there are No Leakages in the House Hold System.
* Compost Vegetable Food Waste instead of it being a Solid Waste and save gallons of water every time.
* Water your Lawn and Garden in the Evenings or Mornings when Temperatures are Cooler to Minimize Evaporation.
* Use a broom instead of Hose to clean your Drive Way and Sidewalks to save water every time.
* Clean your vehicles with bucket full of water instead of direct motoring.
* Soak utensils instead of letting the water run while you scrape and clean.
* Wash your Fruits and Vegetables in a Pan of water instead of running water from the Tap. Water used for rinsing fruits and vegetables be collected for reuse of it to water house plants.
* Most important of above all is to ensure the fitting of your storage tanks whether Over Head or Underground with float valves to avoid wastage of the water being supplied by the Department.
To end, recycling too is an alternative but the cost involved with it being enormous, has to be given the last priority and reusing the water has to be given the top priority with minimising the wastage. shortage of water is more of an attitude problem and less of it as a natural resource.
Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting the rainwater from the surfaces it falls and and then collecting it for the use in the future. Usually, the water is collected from the roof and stored in a tank. It can also be stored in dams or let it fall on the ground, creating a runoff. Rainwater harvesting is sustainable, economical and safe source of good quality water if collected and stored in right way.
Why is Rainwater Harvesting Important?
Rainwater harvesting is important in many ways. The prime one being, it will save us from water shortage. Once you start harvesting rainwater, you have your own supply of water that can be used wisely. It is safe as it is the purest form, untouched by bacteria, viruses, chemicals and rust and dirt of pipes. You can also use the stored water for agricultural purpose and feeding your livestock. It also has the potential of preventing drought like situation.
Rainwater harvesting can also satisfy the ever rising need of water and the quantity of the water in subterranean can be increased. This will also save the water getting wasted in drains and gutter and the water logging on the roads can also be prevented. It will also stop the soil erosion. Rainwater harvesting also gives you a renewable natural source of water.
How to Harvest Rainwater?
There are two main methods of rainwater harvesting- surface runoff harvesting and rooftop harvesting. Surface runoff method is used mainly in the urban areas where the rainwater flows away as the surface runoff. This runoff is then collected and stored and is used. It is also used for recharging aquifers with the help of proper methods.
In the rooftop harvest method, rainwater is caught where it falls. Here, the roof becomes the catchments and the rainwater is collected from the roof of the house or the building. It can be either stored or can be diverted somewhere through a proper channel. It can be used for artificial recharge system. Rooftop harvesting is effective and very economic. If used properly, it can also help in increasing the groundwater level of the area. However, the dirty roofs add to the hesitation of collecting water from rooftop. For the solution, numerous rain diverters or first flush devices are available in the market. They flush off or divert the first flow of water, hence removing the contaminants or bacteria from the harvested water that can be present in the water previously.