Water departments across Bengaluru last year were swamped with complaints by people who said there wasn’t enough or it was contaminated. Both reservoirs and bore-wells had dried up, due to which citizens had to resort to rationing. Besides, temperatures in Bengaluru, which boasts of its cool climate, have hit a maximum of 34 degree Celsius already – and it’s only mid-March.
Earlier this month, a BBC report listed 11 cities across the globe that were most likely to run out of water. Bengaluru stood second on the list after Cape Town in South Africa. Residents in Cape Town have been asked to ‘save water as if your life depends on it’.
Many residents have begun taking proactive steps to protect themselves from the water shortage. Here are some of the measures being taken:
1. Mulching for Water Retention
With oxygen-producing plants being all the rage, many Bengaluru residents have invested in these for their homes and compounds. But there’s an unanticipated side-effect – depending on the size of the garden and the type of soil, these kinds of plants need water on a regular basis. Ravi Shankar BK, a resident of Sarjapur in Bengaluru, has taken up mulching to cut down on this water usage, which involves spreading out leaves and twigs over the surface of the soil.
“Gardening requires plenty of replenishment. I have started mulching so that I can save water. Once the soil is covered with dry leaves, the moisture will be retained and I won’t need to keep watering my plants. This is particularly helpful during the dry season,” he said.
2. Fixing Aerators in Taps, Shower Heads
Fixing faucet aerators is considered one of the most effective ways to improve the rate of water conservation. While you might have heard of it without a second thought, there are people who aren’t wasting time or water by putting them to good use.
These devices, once fixed where the taps open, split the flow of water into smaller streams, thereby limiting the flow of water.
I had a tough time last year when we would run out of water supply during the day. I was mostly dependent on the water from tanker cartels for which I had to pay Rs 600 a month. I want to make sure I don’t face a similar situation this time. These aerators cost only about Rs 300 each and can be installed easily in a few minutes. They account for a significant reduction in water usage and the amount on my water bill has reduced too.Janavi Venkat, Homemaker, Resident of Marathahalli, Bengaluru
3. Washing Machine Put to Use Only on Full Load
Laundry appliances are known to use a substantial amount of water daily. However, washing clothes can be optimised in various ways like buying only front-load models, skipping additional rinses, pre-treating the dirty or stained clothes and washing full loads as much as possible.
“I realised that around eight to 10 litres of water is consumed in just a month just by using washing machines. Going by the water shortage that I faced in the last few years, I decided to use the machine only when there is a full load so that I could maximise the washing activity,” said Eshwari Selva, resident of Bannerghatta in Bengaluru.
4. Traditional Rain Water Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting is regarded as a traditional yet impactful method of storing and conserving water for future use. With the decline in groundwater levels, high cost of water from tankers and dry borewells, collecting rain water has become imperative.
It has been quite a few years since I set up a rainwater harvesting system at home. Unlike what a lot of people think, setting up a rain barrel is a simple process and requires only a few basic components. An old drum can be used to connect to a pipe fitted from the rooftop during monsoons. This water has proved to be live-saving, especially in the months of March, April and May.Srinivas Shekar, resident of Rainbow Drive, Sarjapur
5. Drought Resistant Plants to the Rescue
A simple step to conserve water is to include drought-tolerant plants in the garden. These have certain inherent characteristics which help to minimise water loss. While still performing the function of adding beauty, they are easy to maintain and do not need much attention. “I have specifically planted drought-resistant shrubs so as to save water. If it were any other set of plants, they would require many litres of water which I don’t think I will be able to provide considering the current situation,” said Manjula Prasad, a resident of Hanumanthnagar, Bengaluru.