Annets on a water conservation drive

The members of Rotary Clubs of Madras Midcity and Chennai Metrozone, RID 3232, with the support of Ajith Nair, chairman, District Water Mission, have installed tap aerators in households and offices to help save water as part of the club’s environment support projects.

The young water conservationists of the Metrozone apartment complex.
The young water conservationists of the Metrozone apartment complex.

An aerator is a small attachment fitted to the tap, which mixes water with air and controls the flow of water from a tap without affecting the water pressure.

“We involved the children in promoting these devices among friends and families and they were excited to do so. It has been their baby, and they have designed and executed this project,” says Senith Mathews, member of RC Madras Midcity. Metrozone, the apartment complex where he resides, was chosen as the pilot venue to promote the water-saving device.

“We were thrilled when Appa asked us if we would like to take part in saving water for our area and the world. Of course we said yes,” says his 13-year-old daughter Joanna. She and her 25 friends residing in the apartment complex got together and shot a demo video to explain how to fit the tap aerators and how much water can be saved. “My friend Hanna acted in it and the video was edited by another friend, Arjun. We set the timer for five seconds and Hanna collected water from a faucet without the aerator and again after fitting one. The earlier one dispensed 1.1-litre water, and the second one just 0.3 litre water,” she says. Even if only 60 apartments in her complex fixed just one aerator each “we will save a whopping 12.34 crore litres of water, that is equivalent to 5,143 water tankers, in a year!”

Hanna giving a demo.
Hanna giving a demo.

The children designed posters to convey the message. “We had multiple ideas — some crazy, some not so crazy — which we brainstormed over zoom sessions and in person.” The video, uploaded on YouTube, was shared with the residents and the posters were put up across the vast complex.

Once the promotions were done, it was time to seek orders for the aerators. The tech-savvy children designed order forms on Google Form and circulated them to the neighbours. They received 500 orders initially and dug into their pocket money to fix the devices in the clubhouse and other common areas. “We sold the aerators in combo packs to fit the kitchen and washbasin faucets at ₹150–200.”

The children personally delivered the devices to the residents. On the last day of distribution, they learnt that few residents had Covid, and appropriate precautions were taken to reach these orders and collect the money through electronic transfer.

After a brief pause during the Omicron wave, the project is in full swing, and larger apartment complexes will be approached.

The children are also proactive in other environment-related activities such as cleaning and promoting recycling and waste segregation, says Mathews. “The lessons they learn along the way will make them vital agents of change both now and into the future when they grow up as adults,” he adds.

The district water mission, with help from technical experts, has devised various water management solutions and these are being adopted by the clubs in the district. “We are installing treatment plants to reuse water and recharge wells to capture and harness rainwater in large communities and corporate offices,” says Nair.

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