For years, I have been reading about the need to conserve water – to use lesser water to brush, bathe, wash and irrigate plants. I have also read a great deal on the need to recycle water – how used water from toilets can be reused for gardening, how used water from washing machines can be reused to clean floors and so on. In Singapore, where I live, NEWater has become such an important source of water that during the prolonged dry spell of 2014, rationing of water to citizens was avoided mainly thanks to the facilities for recycled water. Singapore has also gone out of the way to change the paradigm by referring to wastewater as “used water”.
But, somewhere at the back of my mind, I wondered what would happen to the supply of recycled water if people began to concertedly conserve so much that they produced lesser wastewater and consequently there was not enough water to recycle. Continue reading
I had hung up my towel on the rack for reusing. The usual placard in the Delhi hotel bathroom said only towels on the floor would be replaced. But when I returned to my room at night, I found a new towel in place.
That was in 2013, the year when 35 five-star hotels were given notice by the Delhi government for using 15 million litres of water per day of municipal supplies. Half of these hotels did not have a dedicated sewage treatment plant. It was one of the hottest summers and Delhi residents were suffering disruptions in water supply.
Tourism-related water use is very small as a percentage of total water used in countries. And yet, the local picture is entirely different. This is because it competes for the same water used by the local population. Continue reading
By now, we all know that cities account for more than half the world’s population. Come 2050, it is expected that another 2.5 billion people will move from villages to cities. In China alone, more people that the whole population of the USA today will move into cities by 2050. These are mind-boggling numbers and present a scary picture of the future liveability of cities or rather the lack of it, especially in South and Southeast Asia.
Already, we see how a day of intense rain causes havoc with flooding. The inexorable march of climate change is bringing more intense rain at odd times or no rain at all. The ‘heat island’ effect of cities with bumper-to-bumper traffic jostling for space with humans gets accentuated during times of no rain. Continue reading
After decades of isolation, Myanmar is welcoming investments and technical expertise from international organisations. Its water and wastewater sector needs to be built up from scratch. Will Myanmar be able to avoid the mistakes made by countries in the region? Continue reading
The New York Times has just published an article which reports that malnutrition in India is not so much caused by the lack of nutrition as due to the lack of sanitation. This is indeed a damning discovery.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/asia/poor-sanitation-in-india-may-afflict-well-fed-children-with-malnutrition.html Continue reading
As cities expand to swallow entire floodplains and coastal areas, often extending even beyond the boundaries of land to reclaim thousands of acres of waters from nature, they are becoming more vulnerable to climate change. Continue reading