Every single day, you can help the world avoid the next war by using less water and recycling water. Just that. Don’t believe me ? Well, here are a couple of articles that seem to be saying the same thing The next world war would be over water, The new Water Barons. The one thing I have realised is that the big banks and the ultra rich always invest in the next big thing – Bill Gates, of the Microsoft fame, is the largest shareholder in vaccine companies and suddenly the world needs vaccines more than ever. If all the large banks are trying to buy up water sources, it’s the next thing that will become expensive. Mere mortals like you and I can put a spanner in their works and we should !!
I am a water conservationist’s daughter. My father spoke of using less water and less electricity long before it was fashionable. Dad worked for the Military Engineering Services and when Mom got married to him, they would have this daily argument on not wasting water. This is in 1968, not now. Mom uses a lot of water to clean things and wash clothes and dad came up with a simple, yet effective solution to reduce the consumption. He reduced the flow of water from the taps :):). He worked in the electricity and water supply area and knew exactly how to reduce the flow. Now that Mom is with us, dad has passed on the mantle to me – I have daily fights with Mom about her usage of water and also with the maid. Am sure, dad is watching us and smiling away :).
Here are my favourite water saving hacks –
1. Take bath in just 5 mugs of water – pour the water from the first mug of water slowly over your body and use your free hand to spread it all over as you pour. Sometimes you may need two mugs to fully get wet. Use soap or shower gel and lather up. Very small quantities of shower gel are needed. Now pour the second and third mugs of water, slowly again and use your free hand to spread it all over so the soap is washed off. The fifth mug of water is for the final rinse. If you have to wash your hair, use the same process and maybe you will need 7 mugs of water instead of 5. Assuming each mug of water is 1 litre, your entire bathing process is completed in 5 to 7 litres. A bucket of water is 18 to 20 litres and taking a shower is nearly 100 litres of water.
2. Cleaning your car – the things you need are a handheld wiper, one to two litres of water, 3M kitchen sponge. The 3M kitchen sponge is the best because it absorbs enough water to clean the windshield and the sides. Even the sides of the car can be cleaned using the wiper. What we do is keep two 3M sponges in the car – one to be used as a wet wipe and the other as a dry wipe. The car is sparkling clean and you don’t need a lot of water. If you are just cleaning the windshield as is often the case, one litre of water will come for three washes !!
3. Never use the washing machine at less than its full capacity. Fill it to its full capacity and you don’t have to really use it everyday. Also use the less foamy washing powder. India is a sunny country – please dry the clothes on a clothesline and not in a dryer. The dryer guzzles electricity ! Hand wash where possible, it’s great exercise for the body and uses much less water.
4. Cleaning vessels, cutlery etc. – so my fight with Mom and my dearest friend Geetu is that they both rinse the cups and plates to near clean and then leave it for the maid to clean up further. The rinsing takes as much water as the cleaning. We don’t really cook on slow fire anymore and very few things stick to the pans and pots. Pour a little water, probably a mug and rinse all the things in that same water. If it dries up let the maid come and sprinkle some water over these and start cleaning them in five minutes – most of the grime will be soft and will come off easily. Also collect the dishes and wash a batch together – less water is used as water used for rinsing one pan will help rinse other plates or pots that have been scrubbed. Reduce the flow of water from the kitchen tap if possible. I have failed to get Molina, my long time help to use less water – I keep standing next to her and then she uses less water, but the minute I turn away the tap is opened to full flow. Let’s not even talk of dishwashers …. They are water guzzlers and really offer little value.
Diya Mirza created a stir by saying don’t play Holi this year to conserve water – you can play Holi and still conserve water because if you use organic colours the water can be used for the plants. I don’t think any of Diya’s friends will be playing Holi with chemical colours. Also, would want Diya to champion this cause of water conservation by playing Holi effectively and recycling the water she uses. It would be great if she can campaign for rainwater harvesting in Mumbai – the city needs it more than any other city. So Holi can also be enjoyed but water can be conserved too. If water sticks to your hair, just boil a few pods of “reetha” (soap nuts) and wash your hair with the juice and come out squeaky clean. Reetha grows on trees and is used to clean gold ornaments and silk sarees besides being a shampoo…. सस्ता सुंदर टिकाऊ 🙂 … Inexpensive, beautiful and sustainable. May Diya light up the cause of water conservation this Holi.
This blog was long overdue and my friend Ravindra sent water saving tips over to our Whatsapp group today and it got me going. Happy Holi everyone and enjoy splashing colours while conserving water so your great grand children can continue to play Holi.