The year is 3247. The Earth is no longer known as the blue planet. All its water reserves have depleted. Mankind has progressed to an extent that it is surviving on artificial forms of sustenance. Even water is sold as a freeze-dried capsule – Pni610 is the most loved brand.
This is probably science fiction today, but we could come very close to this being a reality. As the population mass increases and global warming keeps getting worse, the quantum of water available for the number of mouths to drink it will keep diminishing. If we don’t act today then we may be faced with a pretty grim future. We needed to start saving water ten years ago. That’s how serious this issue is.
As parents of young children, it is our duty to instil these basic values in our children. Most of the times parenting means giving up our own poor habits in order to set an example for our children. After all, actions speak louder than words. This is actually a win because it means us parents are not just teaching good habits to 1 or 2 children but altogether as a household are doing something positive.
Here are some of the things we do in our household to save just a few more drops of water.
Fill only 3 to 4 bottles of potable water from the water filter
We have about 12 water bottles which came as a set when we bought it. Our cook used to do a meticulous job of filling out every bottle, with fresh water after she had emptied the water from yesterday and cleaned out the bottle. But in reality, only 4 or 5 out of those 12 bottles were actually consumed by us. The water from the other bottles was simply going to waste.
The first thing I did was put an end to this practice and stored away excess bottles. We only use 5 bottles per day now and she is asked to refill only if they are 100% empty.
Have individual sippers or small bottles for each member
This has seen a big increase in our water intake and saves water too. All of us at home – me, my husband and babyT have our individual sippers. We keep sipping water from this throughout the day and even in the night. This way we have a fair idea of how much water we consumed in the day. Also, no water goes to waste, because we refill only after the sipper is completely empty.
This also helps us avoid drinking from a glass where half the water would go unconsumed.
Use water sparingly to clean cereals, grains and veggies
I find it painful that most of the veggies and grains we use today are coated with colours, chemicals, pesticides. I have a mental obsession to thoroughly clean them before cooking. To do this I would clean them repeatedly by filling up fresh water each time, rinsing and then discarding and then repeating the process. I used to do this 5 to 6 times even. When I took stock of how much water I was sending down the drain, I stopped this practice.
Now I simply soak the item in water for about 15 minutes and then drain off the water. In case of stubborn grains or pulses where the water is still cloudy, I repeat this process just one more time. This has ensured a lot of water gets saved. And even that water that is rinsed off doesn’t really go waste… This takes me to the next point.
Grow plants – make them the recipients of wastewater from the kitchen
I have learnt from practice that the water which we use to wash cooking ingredients like grains, veggies and even fish and meat is actually quite nutritious to plants in my kitchen garden. Save water that is to be discarded and consider whether it can go to the plants instead.
This is actually me being very extreme, says my husband. But it gives me the satisfaction that I saved some water.
So the thing is that I don’t always flush after every pee (at home! please don’t stop inviting me to your house dear friend.) I use the restroom maybe 2 or 3 times and then flush. That’s me saving 2 flushes of water. No there’s no stink, there’s no grossness either. Just plain water saved. If you think its weird, I still don’t care because I just saved some water.
Avoid pocha of rooms which are used less often and don’t get dirty
Another extreme. But this one is between me and my house help and the husband doesn’t need to know.
I usually tell her to skip the wet wiping (pocha) in babyT’s playroom if I know that he has hardly spent any time in that room that day. There are days when he loves being read to endlessly and we mostly do that cuddled up in bed.
Cuddles + 1 change of water saved is an absolute victory I think.
Save water that the rice/ pulses were cooked in
This is one genius recipe and I think you will thank me for this. Well, actually you can thank my mom.
So in our community, we make an accompaniment to rice called saar. It is a thin, watery gravy that we slosh onto our rice and eat with the dry sabji or pickle etc.
How is it made? By saving the water that the pulses were cooked in. Pulses like rajma, black chana, horse gram get boiled first and then immersed in the coconut – tamarind gravy that is typical of our cuisine. However, the water that these pulses were cooked in gets saved too. It is heated and lovingly given a tadka of crushed garlic (lots of), dry red chillis, curry leaves and hing (asafoetida.) The flavour is to die for. In fact, the humble saar is a much sought after delicacy round where I come from.
Try this recipe. Save water you just boiled something up in.
Bring home the bottle of mineral water that is served to you in restaurants
My husband thinks I am too stingy, but I am just being environmentally aware. Some restaurants we go to offer a full bottle of mineral water instead of filtered water in a glass. And most of the times we do not finish this bottle. I make sure I grab this bottle and carry it home. The restaurants charge me for this bottle and it is not like I am stealing their property.
If you don’t take this bottle away the restaurant will probably just drain this bottle. I doubt very few would have the sense to reuse this for drinking purposes. Save water and take it home.
Ask for #CuttingPaani when dining out
This one’s a pretty simple one but something that we don’t pay enough attention to. I for one can never finish the full glass of water served. So just ask for the glass to be half filled. This campaign by Livpure has such a meaningful lesson and one that is equally impactful. Let’s ask for #CuttingPaani and do more to save water.
Think about how much water can be saved if you just start asking for #CuttingPaani everywhere. Join this movement and sign the petition for #CuttingPaani here with Change.org
Say no to frequent plate changes
I don’t quite understand why restaurants ask if they can change your plate with every course. It only adds up to their washing up pile after all.
Try and say no to frequent plate changes. A plate less to wash means you save water.
Use the economy mode in the washing machine.
There are times when the load in the washing machine is very less or I know that the clothes are not all that soiled. I get away with doing a “quick wash” on these clothes. The quantum of water used is lesser and the cycle usually skips one rinse.
Do you have any ideas which you can share to save water? I would love to hear some of them. Let me know in comments below.