Many of us are guilty of being luxurious water-users. So was Odette Katrak, before she stumbled upon a chilling presentation called Letter in the Year 2070, wherein a world with extreme water scarcity has been described. That level of waterlessness may have been fiction then, but it is increasingly becoming a possibility today.
Cape Town, South Africa, was the first city to run out of potable water and according to a BBC study, Bangalore is second on the list of 11 cities that are likely to run out of potable water in the near future. This may come as a shock to many who are used to Bangalore’s pleasant weather and high rate of development. The truth, however, is that we are beyond the point of brushing this problem under the carpet.
Odette is the co-founder of Beautiful Bengaluru, a Citizens’ Initiative that started three-and-a-half years ago. The initiative aims to bring beauty back to Bengaluru and make it a clean, green, safe city. The team’s focus is on three main areas – reduce litter and waste; save water, trees, energy; and smoother, safer roads.
Odette emphasises the potential of individual contributions towards saving water while telling us all that the Government and various associations could do and are already doing – running Sewage Treatment Plants, Rainwater Harvesting, and Recharge Wells. “In fact, an apartment in Whitefield called the Greens managed to harvest 45,000 liters of rainwater from the first showers in Bangalore. There are a few organisations working to install 2,500 recharge wells in Bellandur, and Beautiful Bengaluru is spreading awareness to promote the idea . Apart from what associations and the Government have to offer, there is so much that we, as residents and citizens of the city, can do.”
In the interview, Odette also shares with us her simple tips for saving water through what she calls her ‘Ecowaternomics’ framework. Odette breaks down what she means when she says “use less and reuse more” with respect to water usage, through accounts of her personal practice of economic use of water. Some of her tips are:
● Using water in low flow
● Turning the tap off when not in use
● Fixing leakages
● Using stagnant water over running water.
Odette claims that only 50% of our water needs require fresh water, while we use fresh water for a majority of our needs. Building a method wherein there is the reuse of water is extremely necessary in order to conserve fresh water. Odette strongly believes that the changes in the water usage of even one person could benefit the natural and social ecosystem. “Although Governments have a duty towards all aspects of environmental conservation and sustainable development, we citizens are just as accountable.”
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