Thursday, 11 April 2013

Do you save water ?

Or are you one of the urban higher middle class who use and 'require' more water than the rest of us?
I don't belong to arrogant,impervious,bratty society who doesn't 'wish' to see what happening around the world and their neighbourhood and is busy maintaining her social standards?
   I consciously save as much water as i can. I use only that much that is required.No , i don't face any day to day water cuts or shortages.I stay in a 2 bedroom flat.But yes,i have seen and experienced first hand what 'no water' means.
My early childhood was spent in a South mumbai chawl.Those old buildings where people stay in 2 rooms or 1 room but are lower-middle class not poor !
  Yet ,when i think of water i see my parents climbing 2 floors with buckets in hand. Even after we shifted to Pune 2 decades ago, the first thing my parents did was to install Sintex ka taaki. We still have that taaki in the small bathroom installed on metal bars near the ceiling.Fortunately, we have not faced any water scarcity in so many years.
   I am very thankful for that. I thank God every day that i don't have to fill buckets of water because i don't think i am physically upto lifting weights on daily basis.
   I know 2-3 people like me whose primary concern is how to minimise daily usage of water.In contrast, over the years i have seen maids who throw buckets and buckets of water  to get balconies and bathrooms clean.
  The area where i live now, has become dusty and grimy due to increase in vehicular traffic , new construction - basically 'development' .To make the mall near my house, 1 sturdy very old Pipal tree whose branches came to my 4th floor balcony was cut down and another jungli badam tree and gulmohur[Cesalpinia] were also cut down.No new trees were planted by the builder !
  Maids who themselves wash with very less water [ and soap] because in their slums they have to carry water to their homes suddenly become arrogant and wasteful in memsahibs/ madams hflats and bungalows. They don't want to scrub so they use more soap and then to rinse that soap they run the taps louder.
  We had maids of all caste and creeds in so many years. Only 2 of them didn't waste water and used water judiciously. The last maid I had was like an arrogant cow. I implored her to use less soap and therefore less water and not throw water in the bathroom like a mad woman.But she never listened to me. She continued to keep the tap full on while washing utensils and threw buckets of water to clean the bathroom. My mom was very sick so i had to keep her and also in my past experiences i knew 80% maids waste more water and soaps.
    A week after my mom died, I threw her out ! I use a vacuum cleaner to clean and since the vacuum cleaner[ i have a dry vacuum cleaner] is inefficient in removing grime and stains, I mop the kitchen and doorway areas and balconies every time i vacuum but  i don't mop the entire house all the time.
   The ways in which i try to save water:
1. I don't keep the tap running while i brush my teeth or wash my face. I use a small mug most of the time to gargle or wash my face.
2. I use overhead showers only in hurry or when washing my hair. For day to day baths, i fill a bucket and use that.
3. I use a Gala /Scotch brite mop and use old cotton torn shirts/dresses as use and throw wipes. I usually make pieces of old rags to clean fans etc and don't rewash i just throw them.
4. I wash utensils cleverly- soak them ,clean the grimy bits with stainless scrubber and then wash with green scrub pads. I use liquid gel Vim only.It rinses clean at one go and is very good on hands too.
5. I use a semi automatic washing machine and reuse detergent soak water for atleast 2 load runs. I recommend semiautomatic machine which is the next best option to handwashing. It allows the reuse of detergent water- I run the whites and new clothes first and then put household linen and clothes jeans in second run. I use water in the machine only as required and since i use a good quality washing powder like Surf quick wash , it rinses clean in an single rinse cycle.That's the beauty of using enzymatic detergents.Here i would like to mention that the water quality i get is good so i don't need to use more detergent to get clean clothes. I also prescrub the stains with laundry soap- Foaran. Foaran is an excellent natural soap especially for hand scrubbing and wash.I use the old fashioned biolaundry soap[yellow] from Foaran not the newer syndets cakes !
6. I mop only grimy areas regularly and the kitchen.But i know if you have children at home, you may have to mop the whole flat. Still restrict your maids to mopping the balconies everyday and not throwing water to get the dusty balconies clean . My balcony which gets so dusty and with bird shit that i have to use water once a week with a broom.Still, i use only half a bucket -no more.
6. To clean basins and bath room, i use liquid soap - Cleanol.Its an excellent find. I think its a local liquid soap brand which I found in Dorabjee. It cuts grease which is especially useful for bathrooms and just scrub with the plastic broom and little water gets it clean.
7. For flush tank i have got it adjusted to half the tank of water. So that, it fills only upto half the tank so that not much water is used in a single flush just the bare minimum required.

 As i said, i try and work around to save as much water as possible .And i can do only this much at my end,since rain water harvesting etc is more of a community effort than an individual's.But i believe, if we truly use water as 'a precious' commodity just like our gold and money then i think we'll be much better off. In future, water like other things only higher middle class,rich and superrich and powerful people will own !For the rest of us,God help us !

1 comment:

  1. Really nice article. Even I have lived in water poor areas, my mom's home still has water issues. Maid at my moms place never has the luxury of running tap, so no wastage. At my house, I have an automatic machine, which I use on full load only. I wash all hand wash clothes together after forming a good load, even inners, that way you need less water.

    My job is demanding, so vacuuming the house is difficult. And I need to get my home mopped daily, since we have a new construction coming next door. But yes, no running water when brushing, washing the face. I don't remember when I last took a shower. A bucket bath it is, always

    For my garden plants, I use water that has been used to wash veggies, fruits etc. I know, it has chemicals, but I see no other choice.

    Indian toilets need lesser water to flush than the western commode. I think if possible using the Indian toilet more often is a good choice


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