Tips To Beat Water Scarcity In Apartment Complexes
Summer has just kicked in. One of the key challenges in apartment complexes during this season is to meet the water demands for keeping all the amenities working.
Typically, it's seen that apartment residents consume anything between 140 to 250 litres of water per day! During rest of the year, most apartment complexes can meet their water requirements through municipality water supply or borewell water. In summer, dependency on external sources like water tankers go up, which puts a lot of financial strain on apartment residents and management committee members.
During peak summer a water tanker's cost may vary from Rs 500 to Rs 1,500 per tank amounting to a monthly expenditure of a few lakhs depending on the size of the apartment complex. Also, the quality of water provided through tankers is usually not very good.
Apartment communities are like mini cities which face same problems which are faced by cities on a larger scale — water, security, power, waste management.
This summer, here are a few things that apartment residents can do differently to reduce your expenditure and also lessen the strain put on our natural resources. We have seen these solutions work and reap benefits for apartment complexes across India. Form a dedicated subcommittee that will get all the below done in a focused manner.
Fix the leaks
In any apartment complex, 30-70 per cent of the flats will have some leakage or the other, depending on the age of the fittings. Even a minor leak, like 20 drops per minute adds up to waste around 180 litres of water per month! So a 200 unit apartment complex could lose 36,000 litres of water per month.
There can be leakages in pumps, bore wells, tanks, which should be checked once before summer sets in. Make sure the borewells are metered and monitored regularly. In case there are serious leaks or seepage in the tanks/sumps then do take immediate steps to repair them.
Install Water Spray or Water Flow Reducers
A water spray is no sophisticated appliance! It is simply that kitchen tap showerhead that gives a wider flow of water making washing of dishes possible with much less water.
Have the plumber install this in all the kitchen taps. He can do it while he visits to check for leaky taps!
Water flow reducers also help a lot. Sigma One Housing Society, Pune that installed water flow reducers reduced overall water consumption by around 40 per cent.
Watch the water tanker entries
During summers, almost every apartment complex ends up ordering private tankers when the city water supply plus the borewells are not sufficient.
This is one of the biggest variable expenses for apartment complexes. Often there is pilferage with respect to water tankers. In a day when you order seven water tankers, there may be an entry in the register of seven Water Tankers, whereas actually, only four may have come. Be watchful.
A security gate management software that records the entry, exit details of the water tanker also makes the information instantly visible to the apartment residents. Such SaaS-based solutions can bring in a lot of transparency and save a lot of money for apartment complexes.
The domestic staff are great ambassadors. Hold sessions for the maids, car cleaners and other domestic staff to understand the need to save water. Show them impactful videos followed by what they can do to use minimal water.
Make sure that the facility manager is aware of the various practices to follow water conservation while maintaining your facilities like swimming pool, fire-fighting systems, etc. Above all, let the actual numbers speak! Every month publish the water expense report from your expense tracker to all the residents! Let them be conscious if the bills are rising and rejoice if the bills are coming down!
Get started on initiatives which can fetch returns such as:
Apartment complexes that have implemented RWH have reported that 30-45 minutes of rain can help save three to four water tankers. In around 3 years, apartment complexes typically break even after implementing such RWH techniques.
Setting water meters for individual homes is the most important tool to tell people this is a scarce resource. These meters provide metrics to monitor water usage of each apartment and accordingly they are charged. Apartment complexes report around 20 per cent reduction in water consumption after introducing such meters.
Many Apartment complexes today use recycled water for landscaping, toilet flush tanks, etc. These initiatives help bring down water-related costs radically. TZED Homes in Bengaluru uses recycled sewage water for all their water requirements, even for drinking. They have become independent with their water requirements, using special treatment plants which produce water which is purer than what is provided by water tankers and municipality.
We have seen that without the use of a SaaS-based apartment complex communication and management tool like ApartmentADDA, initiating and driving such initiatives are very difficult. With tools like these, the management committee members can easily communicate the need for such initiatives, gather opinion of residents, send notices, updates during the implementation. Also as expenses, vendor payments, tracking of issues and projects can be easily done through these tools, overall management becomes much easier.
Sangeeta Banerjee is the Co-founder & CEO of ApartmentADDA.