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A little technology goes a long way
Try calculating the amount of water you waste in your daily chores, and be prepared for a shock. Take for instance the water wasted when we let the tap run while brushing teeth or washing hands.
This amounts to roughly 0.5 ML per minute. And when this happens on an industrial or commercial scale, the volume of wastage gets multiplied several times over.
With millions of square feet of built-up space housing over 225,000 employees in our campuses, we observed that there was a huge potential to conserve water and plug wastage.
We leveraged the power of new technology and added cost-effective retrofits to our plumbing system, achieving considerable reduction in our per capita water consumption.
We installed pressure compensating aerators (PCA) and washers in our faucets. These small fittings act as flow restrictors by offering a uniform flow rate of 0.5 gpm. During the fiscal year 2019-20, we had installed over 28,000 PCAs in our campuses.
Sensors connected to the taps in all the restrooms and hand-wash areas in our campuses detect hand movement and control the flow of water, thus minimizing wastage.
The conventional pipes carrying potable water across our campuses had multiple joints, low corrosion resistance, and were prone to leakages. By replacing them with durable, leak-proof polyethylene pipes, we have reduced leakage and also ensured their longevity by nearly 50 years. Till fiscal year 2020, over 160 kms of piping retrofits have been carried out across our campuses.
We have installed waterless urinals in some of our new buildings, and also retrofitted existing urinals with the key valves system. These eliminate the need for water for flushing without compromising health or hygiene. What’s more, they have also helped us bring down energy used earlier to pump and treat wastewater. During fiscal 2019-20, 400 waterless urinals and 500 key valves were installed across our campuses.
Adopting new technologies and practices and monitoring their effectiveness at our command center have given us the confidence to challenge widely-followed water consumption standards.
For instance, the National Building Code (NBC) recommends around 1035 liters of water per person per month, but our water conservation strategies have helped us operate on only 466 liters of water per person per month which is 45% lesser than the NBC standard!
Most of these water conservational technologies are affordable and can be easily replicated across both small and large set-ups with a good ROI. Generally, these water saving technologies together have the potential to cut down water consumption by 30% to 50%.
We have been successful in reducing our per capita fresh water consumption by 64% compared to 2008 levels, in spite of our workforce increasing by more than 100,000 during the period.