This "JAL SUTRA" is for all of us, Citizens and Municipal Corporations, which has been jointly formulated by IIT Alumni, Deputy Director (Maharashtra Nature Park) and participants of Rain-water Harvesting seminars to augment our water supply and raise the city's ground-water table. "Jal Sutra" aims at capturing and maximising the naturally occurring gift from God. The rainfall that we receive is a whopping 2.3M (typically) every year - at no cost.
The citizens of Mumbai keep receiving supply of about 2900 MLD of pure filtered water, grossly under priced - insignificant for most of us. We have been guilty of undermining the value received by expending, in parts, 230 Lt/day in toilets, for washing cars and for gardening. This extravagantly wasteful expenditure cannot continue for much longer.
For Greater Bombay Municipal Corporation
For the Citizens
- Enable rain-water to be harvested by allowing it to percolate into the ground instead of running off into the sea.
- Percolation takes place by drilling "holes" and creating recharge pits all along the sides of drains and draining channels at regular intervals.
- Percolation "holes" have to be drilled in all cemented compounds, private and public places to direct the rain-water runoff deep into the ground below.
- Revive all existing wells in the region independent of their potability.
- Engage in massive tree plantation across the city, even where only one tree can be planted. It is said that the father of rain is the tree!
- Stop 'leakages' on a war footing - this might mean regularising connections where otherwise 'users' are tampering with the pipelines.
- Impose a tariff with increasing water usage - minimum charges for, say 100 Lt./day, and rising in slabs thereafter.
- Promote re-cycling of water for non-drinking applications, like gardening,etc.
In the Kitchen
The Bathrooms and Toilets
- Use an aerator and/or a water flow-reducer attachment in your sink faucets, to reduce water usage.
- Be sure to always turn taps off tightly so they do not drip.
- Promptly repair any leaks in and around your taps and faucets (One leak can waste several thousand litres of water per year).
- When hand-washing the utensils, never run water continuously. Wash them in a partially filled shallow tub, and then rinse them using minimum water.
- When cleaning fruits and vegetables, never do so under a continuously running tap. Wash them in a partially filled sink and then rinse them quickly under the tap.
- When boiling vegetables, save water by using just enough to cover them and fit the lid tight.
(About 75% of domestic water-usage occurs in our bathrooms, and toilets cause the single greatest expense of water.)
- When washing or shaving, use pots like Bucket-Tumbler rather than running the tap continuously. (This saves about 80% of the water normally used).
- When brushing your teeth use the same technique as above: turn the water off while you are actually brushing instead of running it continuously - this saves about 80% of the water normally used.
- Be sure to always turn taps off tightly so they do not drip.
- Promptly repair any leaks in and around taps and faucets.
- Use aerators and/or water flow-reducer devices in all your faucets.
- The best method of bathing is: Get wet, turn off the water while you are soaping and shampooing, and then rinse off quickly using bucket and tumbler - 10-15 Lt.(A shower uses 30-40 Lt.)
- Reduce wastage during flushing toilets by placing a stone/weighted bottle filled with water, in the flush tank of your toilet.
- Reduce water usage by 40%-50% by installing dual cistern (with low and high flush) toilets.
- Flush your toilet only when it is really necessary. Never use the toilet as a garbage can to dispose of cigarette butts, paper tissues, etc.
- Check regularly for toilet tank leaks into the toilet bowl by putting a small amount of liquid colouring into the tank and observing whether it spreads to the bowl without flushing. Repair leaks promptly. Ensure that the float ball is properly adjusted so that the tank water level does not exceed the height of the overflow tube. Also, periodically examine whether the plunge ball and flapper valve in the tank are properly "seated," and replace parts when necessary.
- Regularly check for leaks at the base of your toilet, and get them promptly repaired.· Regularly check for leaks at the base of your toilet, and get them promptly repaired.
- Never flush garbage of any kind down the toilet. Household cleaners, paints, solvents, pesticides and other chemicals can be very harmful to the health of your septic tanks as well as for environment.
- Before flushing down anything into the drains look for items that can create problems for sewerage lines and treatment plants.
- Only wash full loads in your washing machine.
- Use the shortest cycle possible for washing clothes in machines.
- If your washing machine has an adjustable water-level indicator, set the dial to use only as much water as is really necessary.
- Promptly repair any leaks around the taps, hoses or fittings of your washing machines or the spouts used for it.
The Hotels & Restaurants (Don't Sit Back and Just Let Things Happen! )
- Lawns and gardens require only a small amount of water per day during warm weather. Less is needed during cooler weather.
- Water lawns every three to five days, rather than for a short period every day.
- The amount of water sprinkled / applied can easily be measured by placing a rain measuring can in the area being sprinkled. Measure the time required to apply the proper amount of water and use this information for future sprinkling.
- Grass, which is green, does not need watering. Water is required when the grass starts to develop a black tinge along the top. Recovery is almost immediate when water is applied at this stage. Blackening does not hurt grass; browning does.
- Do not overuse water in anticipation of a shortage. Soil cannot store or hold that extra water as you may anticipate, especially during warm seasons.
- Water the garden during the cool part of the day - preferably in the evenings. Avoid the sunny part of the day i.e. late in the morning or noon. Do not water on windy days - it increases evaporation and thereby causes loss of water.
- Keep your lawns healthy and maintain them at a long length. Taller grass holds water better, and a healthy lawn will choke out weeds.
- Young or freshly transplanted garden plants need small quantities of water more frequently until they are well established.
- Most shrubs and young trees need water only twice a week, even in hot weather.
- Clean walkways and driveways with a broom, not with a running hose.
- Discourage using large size glasses for providing drinking water. Under the disguise of etiquette many eateries keep filling the glasses or keep replacing them with filled ones and cause wastage of water.
- Demand Management to change such practices - it is a National loss.
- Avoid / Stop visiting such hotels if they don't change such faulty practices.
- Encourage by appreciation if they improve.
An informed and committed citizen can become a powerful agent in support of environmentally concerned political leaders, and even by themselves provide an impetus and catalyst on environmental issues. You can make a difference!
- Become informed. (i.e. Information on your local water supply, educational resources, regulatory information etc. and more.)
- Trust in the ability of the individual to take action.
- Work together with other individuals and experts.
- Report all significant water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, abandoned free-flowing taps, etc.) to the property owner as well as the local authorities managing the water supply.
- Exercise your rights as citizens: request information, participate in public hearings, attend the awareness programmes and remain informed.
- When voting for municipal corporations, state assembly and parliament elections, make your choices based on the environmental views, positions and practices of the candidates and the parties.
Educate your children and your friends. Environmental problems cannot be solved in a single generation. Our children and their children will have to carry the torch.
Appropriate Technology Mission of India
(An initiative by panIIT Alumni & Faculty)