Testing the waters

Monday Musing

[ Karyir Riba ]
‘Water is very important for living beings. We need water to drink, cook, clean and wash. Without water, there will be no life.’
This is what we studied while growing up, regardless of which school we went to and where we lived. To tell you the truth, this is one of the few things that we ‘learnt by heart’ in school that has made any sense, unlike ‘cos theta’ and ‘sine theta’.
To all the people in the world who have made use of cos theta, sine theta after school life, please do not take any offence, but I still wonder sometimes as to where in real life do we put it in use. I know I’m being irrationally ignorant, but I’m an overthinker and this particular question has given me many sleepless nights, especially because I had a difficult time learning it in school.
Getting back to the topic of water, now that we have all grown up and have all the practical evidence, we know firsthand that water indeed is an element whose absence would make human life impossible.
There are two types of people in this world – one who wakes up and has at least one glass of water, and one who wakes up and goes straight into the washroom to, you know, answer nature’s call. Either way, both make use of water. Thereafter, whatever humanly actions follow during the day, until bedtime, all include use of water. We indeed need water to drink, cook, clean and wash.
So, what happens when we are deprived of water? Who should be held responsible? And what can we do to attain our right to water?
Have you watched the Hindi movie called Drishyam? In this movie, the main character repeats a lie so many times that people around him start believing that he was speaking the truth. The same psychological game is being played with us by the government. We have pipeline connections from some main water source to our homes. We also have fancy water faucets and the pricey ‘rain showers’ installed in our homes. What we do not have is regular water flowing through these expensive pipelines, faucets and rain showers.
In the government’s defence, it is trying hard to provide water to all households, fighting all demographic and geographic odds. After all, it is humans who are running the department dealing with water. So, while the government is doing its ‘best’ to make water available to all its denizens, the next question that arises is: what can we do on our part to make ourselves water-sufficient?
As difficult as it might sound, it is absolutely possible to make our families water-sufficient, and the easiest way to do so is to start storing water. Storing water could mean anything from using small buckets to large water tanks to collecting water for later use, depending upon the needs and consumption of your family.
From personal experience, the best way of ensuring water availability for your family and having water running 24/7 in your household pipelines (and fancy faucets) is to build a water storage system with one storage tank below or on ground-level, and set up another one on a higher level. In this system, the water from the main pipeline will be collected in the tank that’s below and the collected water will be sent up to the overhead tank with the help of a motor. The overhead tank will then release water into the household pipelines, ensuring running water conveniently.
The one important factor to keep in mind while building this kind of system is to make sure that your underground/ground-level storage tank is built at a spot where water from your main pipeline will be accessible, irrespective of the water pressure. This will be your main storage tank, and keeping it filled will mean no water shortage.
We had to learn it the hard way, as the spot where we first built our main storage tank wasn’t ideal for the water pressure of our main pipeline, meaning it took more time for the water to fill the tank, and at times the water didn’t reach there at all. So, to rectify the problem and give ourselves some much-needed peace of mind, we identified the most low-lying area in our compound where the water pressure from the main pipeline was the best, and rebuilt our storage tank there.
This might seem absurd but geographic landscape also matters when it comes to water supply. If it were not evident from what we experienced within our compound, I wouldn’t believe it too. One half of our property is on a higher side, compared to the other. The water pressure on the higher side is very low (sometimes no water at all), whereas the lower side has better water pressure most days. And when you are storing water, even the littlest drop of incoming water is important.
‘Little drops of water make the mighty ocean,’ and in this case, fills up your storage tank.
We have faced a lot of problems with water and water supply in the past, but today, all the investments made on making ourselves water-sufficient have really paid off as we do not have much to worry about regarding the water problem. The only thing is to keep a check on the main pipeline water supply. If the supply is interrupted, we use our water more judiciously, which ensures that there is no water shortage until the main water supply is restored by the department concerned.
Another way of being water-sufficient is through rainwater harvesting. Although there are a lot of technicalities involved in a proper rainwater harvesting system which makes rainwater pure and clean for use, the easiest form of rainwater harvesting is to simply collect rainwater in some container/tanks. This water can be used later for watering your garden, for livestock, and also for other miscellaneous activities that do not require very clean water.
So you see, always crying and cribbing about our problems when the solution is right there staring at us is not justified. Depending on the government to see ‘better days’ has never borne any fruits for anyone. Until the government decides to work on providing proper water supply to all households, we should all try and be water-sufficient in whichever way is possible and most suitable to our lifestyle. After all, we need water to drink, cook, clean and wash. And that’s not going to change.