The year 2018 wasn't a very good one for Cape Town, water-wise. The grim situation of having severe water crisis had the popular port city in a choke-hold, effecting everyone residing there. Tourism took a back seat and residents were allowed only 50 litres per person per day. By immediate implementation of such strict rules, the city narrowly escaped the worst-case but is still far from being in a safe zone. One wonders if things will ever go back to normal after this.
The Cape Town scenario is becoming a lot familiar to us Indian. Currently, India is facing one of the worst water crisis in her history. Though not a sudden development, the country has been facing water shortage for quite some time now, the recent crisis in Chennai has put the issue on the map. When tap water simply stopped running, it brought the mega city to an ominous standstill. Lack of rain isn't the only reason behind India's notorious water crisis. Along with the absence of rain, the water crisis in India can be safely attribute to inefficient government planning, over privatisation of water, wastage of water by industries and humans and government corruption. Though there is little that we as travellers can do to correct the situation, what we can do is be more responsible when it comes to using water.
We will use water when we travel, that goes without saying. But can we actually minimise our usage? Should we minimise our water usage? Of course we should and we can. Here are few tips on how to be a responsible traveller and watch our water usage.
# Carry your own water bottles instead of buying a bottle. Why do this? This is not only good for the environment (plastic pollution is going to be our end and soon) but you also end up not wasting water unnecessarily. When we buy a bottle of chilled water and don't finish it, without thinking much we tend to discard the bottle, even if there is some water left. That goes to waste. If you are carrying your own bottle, you don't waste much, now do you?
#When you are in staying in hotels, here's what you can do to help:
a) Chuck the shower, ask for a bucket and mug instead. A bucketful of water limits your use.
b) Don't leave the tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving. Only use water while rinsing.
c) Instead of the flush, use bucket instead. Flushing ends up using water way more than required.
d) You can do your own laundry if you can or take the little notes by your hotel bedside seriously where they leave you specific instructions about changing of sheets/towels. Majority of the hotels ask their guests to call for sheet/towel changes only when absolutely required. Follow that.
#When at home:
a) While using the RO filter, collect the discarded water into a bucket and use the water for cleaning purposes or to water your plants.
b) Don't leave the tap/shower running while showering, shaving, brushing and washing clothes.
It's not much but a little help and a thoughtful move can go long way. We can't ignore the grim possibility that's in front of us--by 2020, chances of 21 cities including Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad to run out of groundwater; by 2030, almost half of the population in India will have no access for clean drinking water; by 2040, India as a whole will run out of drinking water. Though these may be speculations, they are not impossible and that's the sad truth. Let's be responsible individuals and do whatever we can to not waste water.