A viral hashtag doing the rounds has caught many eyeballs, like its predecessors, the ‘Ice-bucket’ and ‘Kiki’ challenges, the #rwhchallenge (rainwater harvest challenge), here are the rules of the #rwhchallenge challenge: When it rains, save the rainwater. Post a picture of the filled buckets on your social media. Tag one friend and challenge him/her to take it up as well. After saving every two buckets, challenge one friend. (That means, you can challenge only one friend at a time). Use the hashtag #rwhchallenge. Save water. Save life.
A report published by the United Nations highlights the rising concern over the scarcity of drinking water in India. The report, which has shaken people across the country, also published a graph highlighting a time-frame for India. The graph starts with 2019, highlighting Chennai’s struggles, which is almost running out of drinking water. The graph then goes on to predict that by 2020, the country will see 21 cities including Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad run out of groundwater. By 2030, it predicts that 40 per cent of Indians will have no access to drinking water, and by the year 2040, there will be no drinking water in almost all of India.
The UN report put out the harsh reality of climate change around us, which should probably serve as a reality check for all Indians who waste water unnecessarily without realising its consequences. For instance, in the last few years, Hyderabad has slowly edged towards the ‘tanker culture’, i.e. outsourcing water from external sources owing to lack of water generated by the municipality pipes. The privileged and the well-to-do of the city have access to this external source, although, a large chunk of the city’s population suffers the consequences.
Creating awareness, virally
Amidst this scare, a viral hashtag doing the rounds on social media has caught many eyeballs.
Saving water one household at a time
Slowly but steadily, the residents of Hyderabad have also been showing their support towards rain-water harvesting by making efficient and smart use of water.
Interior architect Kalpana Ramesh has been living in a ‘tanker free’ house for the last seven years. To use every bit of the rainwater Hyderabad receives, Kalpana decided to install a rain-water harvesting mechanism at her residence in the city. “I believe in recycling, re-charging and reusing water that is otherwise lost because of lack of awareness among people. I initially installed a 30,000-litre pit, filtered using sand and coal and then eventually decided to adopt a means of recycling the water thus used. Even the filtered water that flows through our taps is so refreshing and full of minerals and sweet in taste,” says a naturally proud Kalpana.
Kalpana is currently trying to move this initiative beyond her by generating a task force of plumbers targeted specifically towards rainwater harvesting. Another person working at rain water harvesting is another Hyderabad resident, Murali Sharma. “Mother Nature has provided us with enough resources to sustain our needs. It is not rocket science. We can install this system in our homes effectively and inexpensively while generating large savings,” says an optimistic Murali.
Taking cue from a challenge
For environmental engineer Nayantara Nanda Kumar, the current #rwhchallenge seems like a brilliant initiative to create awareness among people. “The process is simple and can be installed easily. In fact, I instead decided to recycle concrete waste that is left behind after construction work to provide for the distillation process,” says a beaming Nayantara.