Water management in apartments – a checklist

December 6, 2009

Ensuring water supply in apartments

A checklist of the factors apartment owners have to take note of

Apartments are the new reality of urban living. One of the key challenges is to meet the water supply demand to keep all the amenities working.

Here is a small checklist that apartment owners, associations and builders need to keep in mind so that the taps in the flats do not run dry

* Since multiple sourcing will be the order of the day, make sure that the sustainability of sources is kept in mind when connecting systems.

In simple terms, will water continue to come from the main pipelines? Will the borewells continue to give good quality of water for the next 20 years?

Is the apartment designed well for water tankers to come in and empty their loads systematically without disturbing the residents or the neighbourhood?

* Is there individual metering for each flat? Nobody likes to pay for the consumption of others. Individual metering to each flat rewards water conservation and punishes excess use. This should become the rule rather than the exception.

* Are the landscapes designed to be water efficient? The beautiful lawns and the exotic flowers are a delight to watch but can be huge water guzzlers. Is the landscape designed for water efficiency and less water consumption? Is treated wastewater of the right quality available for the landscape at all times?

* Is there a good leak detection system in the distribution network? Leaks can be surprisingly large and if undetected can cause huge water losses. Is there a system of metering and measuring at wholesale and retail levels to ensure that leaks are detected and fixed at regular intervals?

Facility manager

* Is there a good facility manager who is trained in water and wastewater management systems? Unless the right skills are available it will be impossible to manage the swimming pool, the landscape, the fire-fighting systems, the wastewater treatment and reuse systems et al. In short, without a well trained set-up, the system will collapse over time.

* Is there a good wastewater treatment and reuse system which is easy to operate, easy to repair and which reuses the bulk of wastewater for non-potable purposes such as toilet flushing and landscape demands?

* Is the rainwater and stormwater harvesting system designed well and in compliance with the law? Do they turn around the entire apartment block to a ‘zero runoff’ area and harvest every drop of rain?

* Are the borewells metered and monitored for quality and quantity? Is there a maintenance system for the borewells? Is a detailed hydro-geological data and the borewell log sheet available with the water facility manager?

* Is the water treatment system designed for BIS 10500, the drinking water standard for India?

Right devices

* Are all the devices in the bathroom, kitchen and other areas the most water-efficient in the business? Are all taps, showers, flushes, WCs of high quality and water efficient?

* Is the entire water and energy system well understood by the maintenance people? Are all pumps optimised for energy use and water delivery?

* Does the community meet often to discuss the water report card and become water and environment literate? Only by building the right communities and transferring the right knowledge through practice to the younger generation will we build a resilient and just society.





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