In the 1980s Chennai faced an acute water shortage. The government took massive efforts to transport water to different parts of the city and installed Sintex tanks in public places to provide potable water to its citizens. Even at that time if someone had said that we would have to purchase drinking water in the future we would have brushed aside such a notion. Who would have imagined that very soon we would be forced to buy drinking water! Now, along with our monthly provisions we also buy water cans.
Drinking water cans are delivered to our houses and we pay a substantial amount without realising the dent it is making in our budget. This is what happens in most cities and towns in our country. The situation will only get worse if we fail to conserve this precious resource.
It has been predicted that water resources will be the main cause of wars among nations in the future.
Everyone talks about global warming, its ill effects and how an avaricious society is contributing to the deterioration of our ecological balance.
Yes, there is awareness about these issues but we miserably fail to implement the mandated precautionary measures to conserve nature.
As responsible citizens we all have a role to play. Take simple examples of what we see or do every day. When we go to restaurants we fill our glasses with water and drink only a bit of it. The rest of it is wasted. Many homes these days have a mini reverse osmosis plant. A sizeable quantity of impure water gets collected in a can at the end of the osmosis process. Instead of throwing this water away, we can use it to water plants. This way water will not be wasted.
Rain water harvesting is very important to conserve water. The Tamil Nadu government launched a campaign in 2003 and the Chief Minister personally piloted the effort. Rain water harvesting was made mandatory while applying for building permission. Wherever temple tanks are available rain water drained from surrounding houses was let into the tank. This helped rejuvenate ground water levels as well. These well coordinated efforts produced beneficial results with significant rise in the water table.
Rain water harvesting is the only effective method to rejuvenate ground water levels. It is a simple method. Dig a pit of two feet by two feet with a depth of three feet, fill it with layers of fine sand, pebbles, blue metal granules and fine stones. Allow rain water drained from the building into the pit.
This does not cost much. Even local water board authorities will be only too willing to guide you. Also divert waste water from the kitchen to the pit.
In many multi storeyed buildings the surrounding area is completely cemented leaving little room for water seepage into the ground. Some portion of this area should be dug to facilitate rain water to seep into the ground. Similarly an open terrace has to be periodically cleaned so that rain water flows through the drain getting blocked.
It is a common sight to see public taps not closed properly. Whenever we see such wastage, as responsible citizens we should take corrective action instead of being indifferent.