Homes that save blue gold water

The renovation of homes often overlooks an important area–the water piping sys tem! Water leakages from pipes and taps are common and they are often synonymous with loss of wealth as per vastu principles.

Plugging and repairing points of leakage of the `blue gold’–as the precious resource is also known–is necessary for both the individual and the country’s long-term prosperity.

As per the World Watch Institute, from 2020, India will be become a water stressed country and the availability of water will decline from 6,500 cubic meters to 2,500 cubic meters per annum per person. This then builds the case for all structural buildings including homes to conserve this finite resource of water. Water requirements vary by city and according to the Indian Building Code (IS: 1172-1993), it is around 135 litres per capita per day (lpcd) for mid-sized cities. However, the demand for water far outstrips the supply.Clean drinking water is an even greater challenge to obtain and the new Water ATM project is helping to increase accessibility of drinking water to a larger population. The need to save potable drinking water to the extent possible is greater than ever.

When buying a new home in a large housing complex or while building one, it is important to look for projects where care has been taken to envision future water supply constraints.

Buildings where water supply needs and conservation methods are incorporated into the design itself should be the preferred choice when buyers face a variety of home options.

Features to look for in water-friendly buildings are faucets that conserve water through auto-shut off means or through sensor activated method. Shower heads that are low flow while maintaining adequate pressure are also pre-installed. To conserve water, such buildings deploy grey water colour coded pipe systems that recycle and reuse this water for flushing systems saving on potable water. Other plumbing fixtures installed in such buildings are leak-proof. Leak detection systems are also fitted so that these can proactively address leakages before they show up in inflated housing water bills or structural dampness.

Conservation of water should be the rule and not the exception when building structures. Features that make this possible should be included at the design stage itself

Water efficient building structures also incorporate rainwater harvesting systems. Rainwater can be captured from paved areas and roofs, to be stored in underground tanks to serve as a back-up source of water if municipal water supply falls below requirement. This rainwater can be used for non-potable purposes and gardening in the complex.

Pipes straddle walls of tall housing structures, go underground and turn into nooks and smaller concrete areas. Often, the pipe leaks are detected only when they manifest in damage to the building structure. Tra ditional piping of water supply relied heavily on galvanized iron, PVC, or concrete pipes.

The inherent disadvantages of these pipes is that they were prone to leaks. In addition, iron and concrete pipes were sacrificing the element of flexibility. Cast iron pipes were also susceptible to corro sion impacting health of those to whom water was supplied. PVC pipes typically cracked when over-ex posed to sun. Buildings that are water-friendly utilize the newer pipe systems that are made of HDPE or High Density Polyethylene. The HDPE material has no corrosion with leak proof jointing and is easier to install due to its flexibility. In terms of longevity also, it lasts longer, decreasing the overall cost per litre of water delivered in the long gold

If one is already living in a home or building where these features do not exist, the simplest way to conserve water is to first plug all leaking pipes and taps. Replacement of all faulty pipe valves, float valves in water tanks and cisterns through periodic maintenance is necessary to prevent leakage and save water.

Source: TOI 07 Nov’2015