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Summertime waterwise

March 24, 2010

As summer descends and the mercury rises the thirst for water too will increase. We need to take in plenty of the fluids to combat the heat but we also have to take longer term action to ensure that the precious liquid will be available to us and future generations. Here are some things we can and must do for conserving water.

Dig a recharge well: The best time to dig a well is summertime. This is when water levels are at their lowest and though it is difficult to dig the hard earth, the depths achieved will reflect maximum water depths. Now that rainwater harvesting has become mandatory in Bangalore this is the time to dig recharge wells. The law states that the depths should be a minimum of 10 feet. In most parts of the city, a depth of 20 feet to 30 feet is recommended. Draw the rooftop rainwater through a filter into the well and you have a perfect rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge complying with the law. Typical diameter of the well will be between 2 feet and 3 feet.

Use less water: Though the temptation may be huge do not wash your cars with a hose pipe or drown the frontage of your house with water. A bucket of water should do the job as much as 10 buckets do.1 litre of water saved is as good as 1.5 litres of water generated and it save on energy too since water has to be pumped for it to be used.

Water plants in the evening hours: If you have lawns, a garden or even pots remember the thirst for plants too will be at its peak during summer. To use less water, the best time to water pots is late evening or early mornings. Remember to mulch the pots too. This will prevent water from evaporating. If you can pick water from washing vegetables in the kitchen sink, do so and use this water for the plants.

Paint your roof white: This simple step will bounce off the incident heat radiant on the roof and keep it cool. This will also keep the inside of the roof cooler and reduce air conditioning loads. Saving energy is equivalent to saving water and using paint that allows even the rooftop rainwater run-off to be collected is a bonus. Choose these white paints for your rooftop.

Plant a tree: Better still plant 10 trees. As the old saying goes ‘The best time to plant  a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now”. If you step into any street in Bangalore which is fortunate enough to have trees left, you will see the Pongaemia or ‘Honge’ in Kannada in full bloom. The leaf laden bough virtually bend down and the flowers fallen on the road create a carpet. On the trees the flowers attract a billion insects and the shade is legendry in cooling. This is the time the pongaemia sheds its seeds. Pick 10 of them, use empty milk packets, fill with soil and plant the seeds. Water them and you have 10 beautiful saplings in 2 weeks time. Wait for the monsoon and plant wherever possible. The Pongaemia shades the road and keeps the black asphalt from heating up cooling the surrounding. Cars are parked below the tree and an afternoon siesta is best enjoyed below the tree.

Water wisdom lies in realising the ecological value of water and taking all steps personal and community to ensure its lasting availability.

Persian Wheel -photo exhib

Pongaemia- providing shade and cooling a road

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