How does a corporate resolve its water issues? Issues not just pertaining to adequate water for its large staff, but also the long term sustainability of this replenishable but finite source.
Shubha Ramachandran, a Water Sustainability Consultant at Biome Environmental Solutions, and Madhu Menon , the Chief Finance and Administrative Officer of Tesco-Hindustan Service Centre, talk to Lakshmi about the challenges in managing water as a resource in the corporate world and discuss how a large corporate can become water wise.
A talk on how corporates can be more water wise (Source of video:chaiwithlakshmi)
Shubha speaks on how water management is carried out in large corporate setups. She begins by explaining that most of the corporates have offices usually in the periphery of the towns, where usually no city based water supply is present. Hence water dependency is on private water suppliers, the water tankers or through individual borewells that tap groundwater.
The water needs at corporates is usually more domestic in nature. Certain corporate buildings use 160l of water of a total consumption of 400 kl daily demand for merely for cooling towers. She emphasises that the major criterion is how to reduce water consumption? In this instance it could be a choice between a water or an air cooling system, and even a reconsideration of how much cooling is actually required?
The second issue is how employees perceive water in their daily work, are they connected enough to drive down consumption. It is mandatory for corporates to treat water and reuse it in the campus, which is utilised for flushing and gardening, both limiting in nature. Hence what is required further is to find out if this treated water can be used for recharging the groundwater, or sent out the campus for reuse and application or even to conceive a system through which this water could be discharged into the local water body.
Madhu discusses some enterprising ideas that TESCO has initiated in their Bangalore office to reduce water consumption and boost up their recycling chain. They have an aerobic sewage treatment plant ( STP) in the campus that recycles their waste water for landscaping and domestic use. In addition they have added initiatives like smart gadgets that control flow of tapwater, a water harvesting system using existing storm water drains, and constructing storage tanks and recharge pits, close to the borewells. As the lawns guzzle up about half of the water required for landscaping, they are looking at the option of replacing existing flora with a less thirsty, native species.
These initiatives have a far reaching effect, both in terms of the water reduction and the message taken home by each employee. Shubha reiteriates the importance of rainwater harvesting for replenishing the groundwater table. The need is to understand that groundwater is simply not a sump under the surface but a complex entity. The way forward is to involve all the stakeholders, both the community and the corporate, to bring about a wider perspective to manage and understand existing aquifers.
For sustainable water management a deeper understanding of water sources, awareness of water consumption, and engagement of all stakeholders both in the corporate circle and outside it, is imperative to become a little bit more water wise.
'Catch Every Drop': An initiative to harvest, reuse and conserve water in Bangalore