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Chennai residents come up with unique ideas to save water

From creating water from humidity to opting for dry wash of bikes, citizens are doing their bit to tide over the crisis.

Written by Shivani Ramakrishnan | Chennai |
July 1, 2019 5:07:46 pm
chennai, chennai water crisis, chennai water shortage, chennai weather, chennai rain, chennai weather forecast, chennai weather today, chennai rain news, chennai news, A satellite image of a lake in Chennai in 2018 and 2019 shows the extent to which the water crisis has affected the coastal city. Express Photo: File

With Chennai reeling under an acute water crisis this summer after receiving less than adequate rainfall in November last year, residents in the capital city have come up with unique ways to conserve water and use it for their daily needs.

  • Work from home – Chennai’s IT corridor along the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), which has been the worst affected from the crisis, has had its work population cut by half, with various companies asking their employees to work from home. Other companies that have not provided this option have reportedly shut down multiple toilets and have restricted employees’ access to one urinal per floor.
  • Atmospheric Water Generators (AWG) – While water crisis has hit the city hard, Ramesh Kumar, Ankit Nagar and T Pradeep from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) have come up with a unique way to tap potable water without relying on any water body. Through their Atmospheric Water Generator, the trio uses humidity from the air to create safe and pure drinking water at a cost that is touted to be 20 times less than that of bottled water. The AWGs provide mineral water through a combination of patented surface engineering technology, energy efficient unit design and mineralization technology.
  • Dry wash for bikes – Automobile manufacturer Royal Enfield announced on June 26 that the company had decided to opt for dry washing of their motorcycles across all 20 centres in Chennai to save approximately 18 lakh litres of water a month. “Beyond the major benefit of reducing water consumption, the amount of effluents generated are minimal, making waste management simpler for the service center”, said Shaji Koshy, Head India Business at Royal Enfield.
Royal Enfield, Dry wash initiative, Chennai “Beyond the major benefit of reducing water consumption, the amount of effluents generated are minimal, making waste management simpler for the service center”, said Shaji. Express Photo: Royal Enfield
  • No rain sequences in Kollywood – The entertainment industry in Tamil Nadu, which has for a long time relied on a combination of water from tankers and graphics to create iconic rain sequences in films, has allegedly left them out of their scripts in the wake of the city-wide water crisis.  The television industry has also stopped making rain sequences for reality shows and operas. Kamal Haasan, the host of the reality TV show Bigg Boss, said that he had instructed the crew to avoid keeping a swimming pool inside the house and added that the house had been set up with a water meter to make contestants use water sparingly.

Read – From rain sequences to Royal Enfield: How Chennai plans to save water in face of water crisis

  • Plant friendly detergent – Singer Chinmayi Sripadaa had shared a story on Instagram in June, where she told her fans that she reuses water from her washing machine to water the plants in her house. The singer also shared that she used the water reject from her Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine for watering plants.
  • Grey water for toilets – Shreyaa, a resident of Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), told her parents that they should reuse the water from their washing machine. Since the detergent used by them is not plant friendly, the family collects the machine’s grey water and uses it for flushing their toilets and cleaning up their bathrooms.
  • Tub baths – Antony Raj and his family in Perambur take “tub baths” every day to save water and recycle this water for flushing. The family has purchased a large, plastic tub to take bath and later pour the excess water into the flush tank.
chennai water crisis, tamil nadu water crisis, water crisis in tamil nadu, water crisis in chennai, water crisis, chennai water shortage, india news, Indian Express Chennai has been in the global spotlight since its four main reservoirs dried up earlier this month, largely because of poor monsoons in 2018, forcing residents to ration the use of water. Express Photo: File
  • Reject from Reverse-Osmosis (RO) machine – A few citizens in Chennai have begun to collect the rejected water from their RO machines and store them in buckets and drums for washing utensils and watering the plants in their homes. The machines reject close to 4 litres of water a day, which can also be used to clean the house as opposed to using water from the tap.
  • Condensate water from Air Conditioners – Residents of a villa along OMR place buckets of water beneath their Air Conditioning (AC) machines every night to collect the condensate water. The water that is collected overnight is used for washing their vehicles or watering their plants. “Not many people are aware about this and once we began following this in our compound, we have been telling all our friends about how much of water they can save using this method”, said Subbalakshmi.
  • Sump cum car parking – Dr Kandasamy Subramani, a doctor at the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, has built a sump below his car park at his residence. It provides about 60,000 litres of water every year. The sump, which relies on rainwater harvesting, is connected to the roof and gutters of the car parking through drainage pipes. Using a two-step filtration method, water is collected during monsoons and stored for usage throughout the year.
  • Idli for breakfast – A few schools in Chennai, according to a BJP member, have asked students to bring idli, cut into small pieces, for breakfast. The idea behind this was to consume the idlis using forks and save water by not washing hands.

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