Whose Water Is It Anyway?


I heard this crazy idea for water harvesting, which on reflection did not seem that crazy after all. If one is able to collect all the water flow from all the airconditioners operating night and day in a large city like Karachi, how many MGD water can one generate? Yours truly was an instant convert to the idea at an individual level. Now my bedroom air-conditioner’s water flow goes into a garden bucket, which invariably is at least half-full by the morning, and my wife uses the ‘harvested’ resource to water her potted plants soon after dawn. (Yes, she’s a committed early riser!)

There is a lot of talk around about rainwater harvesting. Indeed there are already sufficient success stories around the world to not only prove that it can be done, but more importantly to emphasize that it must be done, wherever it rains.

Ultimately water conservation needs to be a habit at the individual level. In the same way locking your front door at night-time is. I wish one could say also: in the same way as stopping at red traffic lights is. But that’s history in the land of the five (mostly dry) rivers. It’s also another story. Perhaps even a CSR opportunity for an OMC or a vehicles manufacturing company to run a public service message campaign on television, to inculcate a responsible, law-abiding driving habit in our worthy citizens.

Getting back to water and the individual. Ever considered spending just a little money to upgrade your domestic water outflows to conserve water? Okay, here is what it takes. A separate sink in the kitchen in which everything is washed that requires only water for washing and no soap or detergents. Like fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, some crockery and cutlery and your hands too. ‘Dirty’ water from this sink flows into a 200 litres capacity fibreglass tank outside. A flexible hose pipe leads from the tank to your garden. Two hundred litres of water is effectively re-used.

If you want to go the whole hog, have the water from your bathroom sinks, showers and tubs go into a holding tank and from there into a basic sand filter. And then into another tank which holds the filtered water for various domestic uses. Spend a little more on multi-stage filtering and you will have recycled water you can wash your floors with every day. I can almost feel some of you out there snorting in derision. Probably because you can afford not to go through all this. Enough water to waste, enough money to keep the tanker mafia happily in business. But hey, give someone else a break! The water you recycle saves water elsewhere, which somebody more in need can use. So make a start, because Praetor says so.

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