Water does not flow quietly and freely anymore. It has become a scarce commodity, and a cause of dispute between neighbors, districts, states, and nations. A severe water crisis is imminent, if people fail to make water conservation a part of their daily life. In all the major cities of India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai, there is a severe water crisis. This shortage of water is especially acute during the summer months.
People living in a gated community are at an advantageous position to adopt an environment friendly lifestyle, which incorporates water conservation measures. The managing committee can play an important role in initiating collective measures of water conservation. This can impact not just the apartment complex, but the society in general.
There are numerous innovative methods of water conservation that apartment complexes can adopt. Here are some of them:
Placing water conservation on the agenda:
Residents can keep water conservation as an agenda on the monthly meetings, and set aside some time to discuss lifestyle changes that can save water. The group emails, notice boards, and club house bulletin board can be used to share information about water conservation. Encourage neighbors and residents to become environment friendly, and go green.
Rainwater harvesting is a system of directly collecting rainwater on a surface on which it falls, such as rooftops, and saving it for later use. This water is clean and need not be treated before using for non drinking purposes. When stored in tanks, rainwater can be a safe water source for periods of water scarcity. With the consent of all the apartment owners, money can be collected to construct a simple rainwater catchment system for the entire apartment.
Greywater refers to water from the non toilet plumbing systems, such as wash basins, washing machines, showers etc. A popular water recycling method is creating a plumbing system to collect the greywater from all the apartments, and using it for non potable water requirements, such as washing cars, watering plants, and toilet flushing.
In a dual piping system, one piping system supplies potable water, while the other supplies recycled water, greywater, or rainwater for washing, toilet flushing, etc. For successful greywater usage, a dual piping system needs to be installed in the entire apartment complex. The existing plumbing system can also be modified to create dual piping.
Water friendly bathroom fixtures:
There are many water saving fixtures, which can be installedin bathrooms to reduce water usage. For example, low flow shower heads reduce the amount of water discharged by showers, while increasing the pressure of the water flow. Similarly, dual flush toilets can help save a lot of water. A dual flush toilet has two flush buttons, which release different amounts of water. This results in less water being discharged.
Installing individual water meters for each apartment:
In many apartment complexes, there is a single water meter, and the water bill is divided amongst all the residents. However, research shows that installing individual meters can make residents more careful about their water usage. Billing based on individual water meter readings can bring down water consumption by as much as 15%.
Xeriscape Landscaping in the gated community:
There are many apartments and housing complexes which have large gardens and recreational toys which are water based. While doing the landscaping of your gated community, ensure that water conservation is kept in mind. This is called Xeriscape landscaping, which incorporates water conservation and pollution control into landscaping.
Yes, most of the tips above require some investment in terms of infrastructure. But, Water is a precious commodity. Don’t wait for a crisis; start taking proactive measures to make your gated community an environment friendly one and conserve water. Surely, any investment that improves conservation of water pays off itself over a time period.
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