Mumbai’s water crusader

The Asian Age.  | Nirtika Pandita

Life, More Features

In a cost-effective solution for saving water, homemaker Alpa Gala is making people aware of aerators that she installs for just Rs 50.

An aerator, is a small plastic device with multiple holes, which replaces the filter inside the tap that stops the dirt.

In a period of two years, Andheri resident Alpa Gala taking her religious teaching — that every drop of water has uncountable life — to action has saved over thousands of liters of water across Maharashtra by making people aware of aerators.

“In Jainism, we believe in saving water, that water too has life. So when we are saving water, in turn, are saving a life,” says the homemaker.

An aerator, is a small plastic device with multiple holes, which replaces the filter inside the tap that stops the dirt. “It has water pressure adjusting mechanism inside, which adjusts the flow rate to optimal flow rate. While the pressure is there the push through multiple holes is regulated,” she explains.

The initiative began with her brother-in-law, stumbling upon a WhatsApp forward of an international aerator brand which was not available in India. However, his curiosity led them to an Indian manufacturer. “He found that such a device once fitted in the tap could save liters of water on a daily basis. We brought and experimented with it at his house. While we got the water in full pressure we ended up saving almost 70 per cent of the water,” recalls the 41-year-old.

While a normal tap releases nine to 12 liters of water within a minute, only three liters of water is pushed through the tap with an aerator. “Almost five to six liters of water are saved in a day. Reducing the water wastage up to 80 per cent,” Alpa adds.

An aerator

After installing the aerators and witnessing the results firsthand, their interest grew and they started to educate relatives, neighbours, and friends. As inquiries flowed, the family took it personally to install aerators in each house. “We figured that people would not make the effort to go online and purchase, forget installing. So we brought in bulk and installed them in my and brother-in-law’s society, friends and relatives homes. We hired a plumber to fix it in each house,” she shares.

Simultaneously, a WhatsApp message was framed and a video created on the functionality and benefits of the aerator. “It got circulated in no time through family and friends. Since then, the inquiries haven’t stopped,” adds Alpa, who initially installed aerators in 4000 households free of cost.

However, after a year she started to charge a minimal fee of 50 rupees for the aerator and its installation. “When we started, the aim was to make people aware that such a beneficial thing exists and can make a huge difference. But later, we realised that people were not valuing the product. Since it was free, when the maids complained of not enough water, they instantly removed it. Even the plumber cost was getting too much every time,” she explains.

Over a period of two years, they have installed aerators in over 7000, and counting, households from across Vashi, Palghar, Nepeansea Road, Breach Candy, Walkeshwar and Thane. In a ripple effect, a resident of Nepeansea Road, Pawan Seksaria, not only installed it in his house but also took a demonstration to his child’s school, Bombay International.

“From there, an email was sent to all the parents. Then he along with few other parents formed a group and learned the installation process from us. After that all enquiries generated from the demonstration were taken by him,” she says.

Now, there is even a WhatsApp group, created by another save water crusader from Kandivali, comprising 15 people. “People — from Thane, Kandivali, Goregaon, Jogeshwari — who are passionate about this cause formed the group Balance Water, wherein whenever there is an exhibition where we can educate people on the importance of saving water and how it can be done,” she concludes.

You can reach Alpa Gala at: