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”Water is no longer a plentiful natural resource.”

The alarm sounded by the World Bank over the sinking ground water table in India is not new. Experts and agencies both inside the country and outside have many times drawn attention to the depletion of ground water, shrinking of water bodies and the prospect of a severe shortage of water in the coming years. The awareness that water is no longer a free and plentiful natural resource but is a precious economic commodity and imperiled social asset is yet to sink in. Therefore over-exploitation, misuse and lack of conservation and augmentation efforts are the norm in the country. The scenario is bleak across the world, provoking comments that countries may in future go to war over water. But the situation is specially critical in India with an increasing population exerting greater pressure on the resource for agricultural, drinking water and industrial purposes.

The World Bank has projected that 60 per cent of the country’s ground water blocks will be in a critical condition by 2025. The over-use of water could lead to a reduction of agricultural output by as much as 25 per cent and lead to serious drinking water shortages. Industry will also be badly affected by the shortage. The only solution is efficient use of water at personal and community levels and conservation. Better irrigation techniques, distribution of water through leak-proof canals and education of farmers on the optimum use of water will help to stop the depletion of ground water. Efficient use of water for irrigation can go a long way in maintaining the present availability. Proper user charges will help to inculcate a sense of thrift and economy among individual and domestic users. Rain water harvesting and preservation of lakes and other water bodies have been much talked about but action on the ground is unsatisfactory. More research and development of technologies are needed in areas like desalination. Budgetary allocations for water conservation and augmentation efforts are meager. They should be increased and efficiently utilized.

Tips for Conserving Water Indoors
* Verify your home is leak free. Repair dripping taps by replacing washers.
* Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Use water efficient flushes, plumbing fixtures having sensors, low flow faucet aerators which require minimum water.
* Turn off water while brushing teeth.
* For shaving, use mug rather than using running water.
* Close faucets while soaping and rinsing clothes.
* Keep overflow valve in the over head tanks so as not to waste water.
* Use waste water of cloth cleaning to clean the floor.
* Use waste water in flush.
* Don’t use running water for releasing ice from tray.
* Don’t use extra detergent in washing clothes.
* Don’t use running water while hand-washing clothes.
* Operate automatic washing machine when it is fully loaded.
* Don’t use shower/big bath tubs in bathrooms.
* While going outdoor, turn off the main valve for water.
* Develop habit of monitoring water meters.

Tips for Conserving Water Outdoors.
* Minimize grass lawns in your yard because less grass means water demand.
* Don’t over-water your lawns. A good rain eliminates the need watering for more than a week.
* Water the lawns during early morning hours when temperature and wind speeds are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
* Try to use waste of dish washing/cloth cleaning for gardening and cleaning the floor.
* Check leaks in hose, pipes etc.
* Use sprinkler/drip irrigation systems.
* Don’t allow water to flow Into gutter.
* Don’t wash floors with a hose. Use a broom.
* Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. The application of excess fertilizer increases the need of water.

Some tips for power conservation

Limited generation of power coupled with an increase in consumption in the city has shifted the focus to conservation. Backed by the Delhi Government’s direction to switch from incandescent bulbs to CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) in all Government buildings, the Capital’s power distribution companies are taking the message of conservation to the masses by informing them that Delhi can save up to 450 MW of power by switching to CFLs and 175 MW of power can be saved annually by not leaving the electronic gadgets on in the standby mode.
“A typical Delhi household can save up to Rs. 1,560 every year by switching to CFLs. Generating electricity is expensive and puts a strain on earth’s finite resources. In a country like India where the power shortages are plaguing an overwhelming number of states, the situation is alarming,” say discom sources.

Pointing out that the power shortage touched the 900 MW mark last summer, a senior official of the State Power Department said the Government apart from making it mandatory to use solar water heaters and CFLs in all its buildings is eliciting support from the residents’ welfare associations to ensure the least possible waste of electricity.
“The power situation in the city in the past four years has improved, but the demand and consumption have grown considerably and will only increase further. This is why we are recommending CFLs and carrying out campaigns to spread awareness about conservation,” an official of the Power Department said.

Delhi Transco recently signed a memorandum of understanding with The Energy Research Institute (TERI) to receive technical guidance on power conservation for the Delhi Government. Under the agreement, TERI will assist in implementing the energy efficiency programmes including efficient lighting systems, efficient motors and pumps in Government and commercial buildings.

Proposing CFLs as an effective means of saving electricity as well as slashing the bills, discom sources said: “Greenpeace India estimates that India can save 12,000 MW of power by banning incandescent bulbs while the International Energy Agency estimates that a global shift to CFLs would save £1,300 billion in energy costs. India should take a cue from Australia and Cuba and ban incandescent bulbs that waste over 80 per cent of electricity as compared to the modern CFLs and aggravate ozone depletion.”

BSES sources said: “An 11-watt CFL is equivalent to a 60-watt conventional bulb. Greenpeace India estimates that by banning incandescent light bulbs India could save up to 12,000 MW, which is equivalent to almost 4 per cent of its carbon dioxide emissions. And contrary to the perception that CFLs are expensive, the cost of the CFL is recovered in about three months.”

Moreover, a recent study had shown that Delhi wastes over 175 MW of power by keeping the gadgets in the stand-by mode by switching off the appliance from the remote control.

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