The Mountain Spring.
Almost dry,
On the land & within,
Nearly exhausted,
But then…….,
Conscience in Humankind awakened,
To the fact,
The great Deluge will happen,
Not because of Water,
But the lack of it,
For how long can one breathe,
Without quenching the thirst,
For Water……,
That precious gift of Nature,
Has to be treasured forever….
In Parts 1 & Part 2, we have seen how the entire water ecosystem Streams, Lakes, Ponds, Rivulets, Aquifers, Rivers across India are in severe distress. This whole chain of Water will impact the oceans irretrievably. And beaches form the boundaries for all continents. Pollution and Shortage constitute two aspects of the water crisis.
Let there be no doubt that the Water crisis is real and a global issue.
So, how can we, as individuals, communities & nations, come together collaboratively to ensure that all water bodies are healthy, alive, and thriving?
After all, if we fix the consumption side issues of wastage & leakage & manage water resources well, we might not have a crisis at all. One will see that there is plenty of water for all.
The Individual And Home
One thing we have lost, by and large, is Individual Social Responsibility. In India, this has been our heritage since millennia & also amongst the core values of Indic philosophy broadly described as Sanatana Dharma.
The thread between a righteous way of life & Karma is both deep and intricate. One critical ingredient of this is the import of walking as lightly as possible on this planet. What this means is that we must consciously partake only the minimal amount of natural resource that is essential to ensure the sustainability of the earth.
This, in our modern world, would articulate to optimizing our consumption of natural resource as much as possible. This should be a practical starting point for all, one would presume.
So, what are a few actions we can take to optimize water consumption?
The Low Flow Water Aerator:
- Stopping wastage at home is the lowest hanging fruit, and the Low Flow Water Aerator or Flow Regulator is the simplest way to do it.
- An aerator is a flow restrictor & pressure regulator. It is available with a specific flow rate specification, such as 2 Litres of water flow per minute and so on.
- An aerator can be retrofitted onto the Tap and hence is a straightforward, simple & DO IT YOURSELF practical solution to minimize water wastage or optimize consumption.
- When we open Taps for any use, the flow rate will vary from 10 Litres per minute to up to 20 Litres per minute, depending on the water pressure. Let us assume an average flow rate of 15 Litres per minute for our analysis.
- Most Taps/Faucets have an aerator. These are usually high flow aerators.
Let us take a family of 5 and analyze their consumption vis-a-vis just the Hand Wash Tap, Utility Tap & Shower:
Utility Tap. Will be open for washing utensils for at least 60 minutes per day. At 15 Litres per minute flow rate, this would consume 900 Litres of Water per day.
Hand Wash Tap. At least 2 Hand Wash Taps. Total usage of 30 minutes a day, amounting to the consumption of 450 Litres of Water.
Shower (we shall ignore bucket bath since this is self-regulating & assume only shower bathing). Ten minutes per person would mean 50 minutes of usage. This amounts to 750 Litres of Water per day.
Gross total consumption per day would be 2100 Litres per day.
In my personal experience, my recommendation would be to retrofit the following low flow aerators:
For Hand Wash Taps: Aerators with 2 Litres per minute flow rate.
For Utility Taps: Aerators with 3 Litres per minute flow rate
For Showers: 7 Litres per minute Flow Regulator
To repeat, all the above can be retrofitted.
Now, let us see what this does to water consumption for the case stated above.
Utility Tap: 60 minutes per day usage. Total consumption of Water would be 180 Litres per day.
Hand Was Tap: 30 minutes of usage per day. Total consumption of Water would be 60 Litres per day.
Shower: 50 minutes of usage per day. Total consumption of Water would be 350 Litres per day.
The gross total of water consumption per day for these applications would be 590 Litres per day.
A TOTAL SAVING OF 1,510 LITRES OF WATER PER DAY!!!
Another collateral BUT significant benefit of this is that there would be tremendous savings in electricity consumption, due to:
Need for pumping only 590 Litres of Water instead of 2,100 Litres of Water into your overhead tanks.
Savings on account of your geysers heating lesser Water than what is consumed without Shower Flow regulator.
This is something that we have already implemented and used for the past four years. Hence this is doable.
Am tabulating the case mentioned above to provide a simple snapshot of the impact:
Application | Average Flow Rate, Litres per Minute | Usage Per Day, Minute | Consumption with High Flow Taps, Litres per Day | Low Flow Aerator SpecificationLitres per Minute | Consumption with Low Flow Aerators, Litres Per Day | Saving, Litres Per Day | Annual Savings per home of 5 people, Litres | |
1 | Utility Tap | 15 | 60 | 900 | 3 | 180 | 720 | 262800 |
2 | Hand Wash Tap | 15 | 30 | 450 | 2 | 60 | 390 | 142350 |
3 | Shower Head | 15 | 50 | 750 | 7 | 350 | 300 | 105000 |
TOTAL | 2100 | 590 | 1410 | 510150 |
Annual savings per household of 5 people can be 510,150 liters (half a million liters)!!!
Imagine the multiplier effect if every tap and showerhead has a low flow aerator or flow regulator, as suggested!!!
We shall be able to bring down water consumption by at least 50%, if not more!!!
Will reduce the volume of water to be treated by water treatment plants and hence massive savings in power.
Will reduce the amount of water to be pumped into overhead tanks. hence massive savings in power, again.
Will free people from tanker mafia.
So, here is the first prescription for the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
Ensure that Low Flow Aerators are fitted onto every Tap in India and Flow Regulators on every Showerhead.
Ensure that all manufacturers of Taps and Showerheads fit ONLY Low Flow Aerators and Flow Regulators, respectively.
Define Low Flow Aerators as those with flow rates not exceeding 5 Litres per minute and Low Flow Regulators as not exceeding 7 Litres per minute.
Incentivize retrofitting of Low Flow Aerators and Regulators by bringing this into ZERO GST classification. Low Flow Aerators and Regulators are to Water what LED Lamps were to Electricity. Launch a scheme similar to UJALA Yojana. Mass procure and distribute Low Flow Aerators and Regulators across India through Water Boards at lowest possible cost.
Advise State Water Boards to set tariffs that will calibrate to efficient consumption. An illustration is provided below.
Lowest Tariff for consumption up to 30,000 Litres per month per household. This will easily cover all families with up to 8 members per household using Aerators on all Taps and Showerheads.
Increase Tariff by 50% for every slab of 30,000 Litres of water consumption.
For an apartment complex or gated community, since these have standard meters, Tariff Slabs can be fixed for 30,000 Litres per Home multiplied by a number of homes. If there are 100 flats, the first slab will be up to 30,00,000 Litres. Then every subsequent chunk will also be 30,00,000 Litres.
This will ensure that those using Low Flow Aerators and Regulators are incentivized.
Low Flow Aerators and Regulators are a simple way to ensure that water consumption is reduced across India by 50%. Imagine the impact!!!
This step can be taken immediately and is hence a short term solution with maximum impact.
Low Flow Aerators and Flow Restrictors are inexpensive – say around INR 200 per Tap. This can be further reduced if Government imposes ZERO GST on this product and makes it available under a scheme similar to Ujala Yojana.
Those installing Low Flow Aerators and Regulators will get a return on their investment within three months.
And this is every Dharmic INDIVIDUAL’s SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY to at least install Low Flow Aerators & Regulators.
Good deeds beget good Karma.