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Green deserts and the stupidity of money

February 28, 2008

IT cos waste water on lawns

IT cos waste water on lawns
The Times of India

Bangalore: Chew on this: An estimate says IT companies use 10,000 to 1 lakh litres of potable water daily to water the lawns.
•Each square metre of such lawns needs seven litres of water.
•Lawns are watered twice or thrice daily, especially in summer.
•An IT company buys 60,000 litres of water daily just to keep an artificial lake on its campus full.

Where does all this water come from? In the case of IT companies, it comes from borewells in the surrounding city municipal councils (CMCs) or from wells. At Mahadevapura CMC, for instance, locals say water is found only at depths as low as 850 feet. Yet, tankers do a brisk business, pumping water to the nearby ITPL.

Groundwater exploitation is not new and it’s accentuated further in the summer. Rainwater Club founder S. Vishwanath says: “Using up borewell water deprives the locals of their share of water. It’s a crime. It’s stupid to waste drinking water on lawns.’’ Mahadevapura CMC officials express helplessness. “We cannot prevent tankers from using private borewells,’’ CMC assistant engineer T.C. Kodantaram says. A Government Order issued two years ago banned the use of potable water for gardening, washing cars and construction purposes. The law is applicable only in BCC areas, where it’s violated with impunity. Well, BCC itself uses borewell water to green the medians!

So, does a borewell holiday help? “Not unless it’s a practical alternative,’’ says Vishwanath. In the absence of such a ban, companies could at least adopt less water-intensive methods. “They could plant species that need little water, or opt for rainwater-harvesting.’’

There is a silver lining, though. Some companies have woken up to the danger of using water unsustainably.

WeP Peripherals, for example, harvests rainwater on its 22-acre Mysore factory campus and plans to replicate it at its Bangalore head office. Ditto with Denso Kirloskar in Nelamangala. But why lawns? An IT company official admits: “It’s a western image. A lawn looks ‘green’ though everyone knows it’s anything but green.’’

THE ALTERNATIVES

Go for Zen look, use stone formations et al
Plant the likes of cacti that need very little water
Keep an ‘edible’ landscape — grow pomegranate, chikkoo, sitaphal
Better still, grow ragi, the crop that can be harvested too!

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