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Water – Abuse or reuse?

Exploitation of the natural resources is a common threat we all share. This has led to extinction of several species of birds and animals and at this rate, 300 more will vanish from the earth by the end of next year… which our children will never know about or get to see.

What are we doing about it?

Even though sun is an infinite source of energy, we are using cheap coal power to run our industries and thus, adding to pollution and global warming. China became the most polluted country with the commencement of at least one coal driven plant every month! India too is using coal energy and adding to pollution.

What are we doing about it?

Glaciers, the store house of fresh water, has started melting. Once they melt, the water is no more drinkable and turns into sea. With reducing water reserves and excessive use of water, our children will be left with hardly any water to survive!

What are we doing about it?

The National Building Code has stipulated water consumption of 135 litres per capita per day (pcpd), 90lt for domestic consumption and 45lt for flushing. This is grossly lavish and much more than what is actually required. Imagine a population of over six million consuming 135lt pcpd!!!

Leave alone the NBC allocation, but do we have that much water to consume? It’s time we realise we have no choice. If we consume 135lt pcpd there will not be much water left even for our children during our lifetime, forget the future generations.

The municipal corporation has laid down 90lt pcpd fresh water, but do we need that much for our survival? Whatever water gets consumed by way of washing, cooking or bathing and other activities goes directly into the sea and cannot be retrieved.

This  again, which is directed to the sea, is polluting our water bodies. The water of the Ganges that was upheld as nectar for its purity, today is a pool of sewage. It has not only become non-drinkable, but one cannot even go rowing in the river because the water stinks!

How to reduce consumption? How to reduce waste?

Decades ago, Dr Soli J Arceivala, an authority in the field, advocated recycling of water. Used water can be recycled into the flush tanks. Mumbai is one of the few cities that adopted the dual flush tank systems long back. With recycled water, we can directly bring down consumption from 135lt to 90lt because 45lt would be recycled and reused from the 90lt fresh water. I would again question, whether we need even 90lt pcpd?

The NBC gives a stipulated 45lt pcpd for working eight hours in a building. Why do you need so much fresh water? We drink around two to three litres of water per day and what happens to the rest of the water? It is flushed down the toilets!

What are we doing to recycle water?

The message is clear: Don’t create waste, recycle it. Every drop of non-consumable water should be recycled and reused. Recycled water can be used for horticulture or flushing. Thereby reducing consumption of fresh water down to 60lt or 45lt pcpd of domestic application.

Similarly, today, a power plant generating energy from coal, today costs around Rs5 crores for a mega watt (1000kw) and one using solar photovoltaic cells costs around Rs16 crores/mw. Two years back, solar power plant cost was Rs25 crores/mw and probably two years hence, it will come down to Rs8 crores/mw. Solar energy is available in abundance and can be harnessed in Rajasthan deserts. Some day, we will learn to carry energy without cable as we do voice and data, and meet energy requirements around the globe. Thus, we can reduce green house gas emissions and create a better world to live for our children and theirs.

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