Pune: With the motive ‘One small drop can start a ripple’, a school from Pune has started a unique initiate to save water. The founder-director of City Pride School in Nigdi Pradhikaran area asked students to drop the left over water from their respective water bottles in drums while leaving school. The water ‘collected in drums is reused to water plants in school premises or is utilised for school kitchen garden. Around one lakh litre water is collected annually in this manner.

1,670 children who study in the school, from pre-primary to tenth standard, have been part of this initiative since 2014. Recently, the eighth and ninth standard students even conducted a survey on leaking taps and water dripping from taps, and also formulated an Environment Committee. A teacher named Sakina Bootwala, who teaches Science and Geography in school, heads the committee, which has around 40 students as volunteers.

Ashwini Kulkarni, Director, City Pride School, said, “Water is a precious resource. Three years ago, it was observed that there was scarcity of water throughout Pune city, specifically in our Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area where our school is located. Our school also faced scarcity, and found it difficult to implement daily chores like watering the plants, cleaning the floors and washrooms, washing hands, etc. The teachers observed that irrespective of this scarcity, students were wasting water by playing with water or they just throwing it away when going back home. Considering the number of students and the water being wasted every day, we decided to take some serious steps to save water and also help students utilise it sufficiently for the right cause.”

She added, “The school has around 1670 students, and if each child has 1/4th of water left in his bottle, it would amount to nearly 1 lakh litres of water been wasted everyday, which is a huge loss. Taking this thought into account, we had a discussion with the students and their suggestions were taken. One of the steps towards saving water, which was discussed and is been implemented is, asking the students to pour the water left in their water bottle into the buckets kept near the exit on the ground floor at the end of the school. This collected water is utilised to water the garden, clean the washrooms, classrooms and mopping the floors when there is scarcity of water during monsoons or summers.”

Bootwala explained, “Through this activity, students also learnt about saving water, and even celebrated Holi in an eco-friendly manner. Thanks to the idea, the school has been self-sufficient in its water requirement, and we don’t need to approach an external tanker to suffice our need. This learning has been shared by the students at their respective homes, where parents are trying to implement ways to save water in their respective societies.”

Swaradha Kulkarni, a ninth standard student, who was heading the project, said, “Every drop from a leaking tap counts. We found that 100ml water leaks from a leaking tap in a minute, 6000ml in an hour and 144 litres in a day. This water, which was wasted, could have been utilised approximately by three people in a day, as per United Nations’ (UN) recommendation. It was realised there was an urgent need to repair a leaking tap in order to save water. A survey was conducted to find out if there were any leaking taps in school, which need to be repaired.”

Vaishnavi Abhijeet Bhondve, a student of class nine, added, “We know that, in Maharashtra, around 114 villages are drought-affected. To save water, we have built a kitchen garden. In our house also, we did not celebrated Holi. My cousin Ishwari celebrated with dry colours in the bathroom and warned her friend not to apply a lot of colour, as more water would be needed to remove it.”

Vaishnavi’s father Dr Abhijeet Bhondve, a resident of Sector number 26 in Nigdi added, “This initiatives is really very nice as our children are aware of such scarcity of resources. My daughter and niece not only practice it at school, but at home as well as we have a joint family. Both have compelled us to remove showers from the bathroom and use bucket for having bath. Our society is a bungalow and we too are adopting methods to reuse water after washing utensils. Water from our washing machine is used to water trees in our garden.”