Sunday, April 02, 2006

Facing Water Shortages

As summer approaches so do water shortages. We in India have become used to this. I remember reading about a member of Parliament from the state of Bihar saying that everytime he flushed his toilet he remembered how difficult it was for the women in his constituency to collect the same amount of water. How many of us think twice before pouring a bucket of clean water into the WC when we flush it? I remember reading about a household in the U.S.A which had the following sign pasted above all the WCs in the house:"If it is yellow let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down." Can make one grimace. But it does make a lot of eco-sense. In this context it is important to inculcate some self discipline to maximise the use of what little water we have. I happened to read in a website that many parts of England are reeling under a draught and the water companies there have called upon people to impose self discipline and adopt measures which will help them maximise the use of each drop. A website named beatingthedraught has suggested some simple measures which can be useful for people everywhere. These include:
Turning the tap off while brushing teeth, taking showers instead of bathing in bath tubs - in India we can modify that to taking baths from water in a bucket instead of using the shower, fitting water saving devices in the cisterns of toilets, cleaning vegetables in a bowl instead of under a running tap, using the washing machine only when it is full, and using dishwashers only when they are full. The site also suggested washing cars with a bucket of water instead of a hose and using watering cans in gardens instead of using hoses. The upper middle class in India has most of the labour saving devices mentioned above and these suggestions could well apply to them also. Water conservation measures make much more sense in India as a large proportion of our population does not get sufficient water for itself. And our ever increasing population makes the scarcity of water even more acute. Jal hi jeevan hai (Water is life) goes a Hindi saying. How true.