Yes, you read it right, Here’s how!
[Update: We have not tapped 10 such taps, here’s the update post]
If you’ve ever roamed the soulful streets of Kolkata, you must’ve seen random water pipes on the footpath spewing water, unchecked. These are community taps set up by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) across the city to provide water for public usage.
A fantastic initiative to provide basic amenities to the people of the city.
KMC however forgot to add one very important thing to these ‘taps’, TAPS! These taps spill perfectly usable and drinkable water, unchecked for ATLEAST 4 hours Daily, usually more. Most taps are thick enough to discharge 5Litres of water in 10 seconds, that’s a litre every 2 seconds. That’s about 28,000 litres of water through just 4 taps (assuming they run just for 4 hours).
Each of these taps act as a hotspot for street vendors and many of them set up shops around them to use the freely available water to clean utensils and for other usage throughout the day. Many even use it for their evening baths. The taps are no doubt extremely useful and beneficial.
I, however, fail to understand why the KMC did not add taps to them and save thousands of litres of water getting wasted every day. The same water that they spend millions to purify & distribute? The KMC even runs a Water Wastage Reduction Campaign. The campaign does include the repair & maintenance of these exact taps and plans to save water from them, but that needn’t have been the case if KMC had just added a tap to these.
What did I Do?
The vendors & hawkers who set shop near these pipes couldn’t care any less about the water getting spilled, they are too used to it. They live in areas where such community taps are the only access points to water. I also think they shouldn’t be blamed for not acting and stopping the wastage as they have bigger problems to solve (like putting food on their family’s table, every day)
I cross one such tap every day on my way to the office and was aware of a few more in a 200mt distance around my office. I have been thinking of playing my part in bettering this city I call home and maybe improve the city’s image in my own eyes. I could’ve lodged a complaint with the water department and could’ve asked them to sort this out and save some water, but I didn’t want to get stuck in formal complaints and making rounds of a government office to get something fixed that the office knows if broken and they haven’t taken any action on. So, I decided to take matters into my hands.
I looked for plumbers who would be ready to help me on my mission and finally stumbled on Subal Da.
Enter Subal Da!
The real hero of this story. A gem of a man who agreed to help me. When we first met, he thought that I had called him over to fix some pipes in my office, but when he saw what we actually were going to do, he not just got excited and enthusiastic but also found more ways we can inch closer to our mission of ‘Tapping all Community Taps in Kolkata’. He was awestruck and even waived off a part of his labor charges without me asking him to do so. He’s promised to help me with this mission along with his assistant Binod Da. These guys have a Plumbing Service in Santoshpur.
They tapped all 4 identified taps in less than an hour. We even decided that we shall go on 'Tapping Tours' every Sunday to tap more taps. All it took was some initiative, one hour and ₹3,000 to fix 4 taps and start saving 25,000 Litres of Water Every day!
What can you do?
I must admit, I’m not the only one who thought of taking up this issue. Ajaay Mittal, a Climate Reality Leader, and a friend, through his #SaveBlue initiative, has yet tapped about 1,500 such taps. Imagine the savings they’ve done! [P.S. It’s about 1Crore Litres, Daily!]
People like Ajaay have set incredible benchmarks in community service and set examples of what one person with dedication can achieve. I therefore, would want to make this a collaborative effort and bring together people to play their part in helping Kolkata.
If you live in Kolkata, you can help and join us on our mission. If u spot any such untapped community tap around you, comment on this blog with the exact location and an image (optional). We shall get in touch with you and try to get the pipe fixed as soon as possible.
If you wish to join us on our tours or donate you can drop me a WhatsApp message at +91–6290 649523
And if you don’t live in Kolkata but want to participate, you can still donate and share this blog/post with your friends from Kolkata.
I shall soon make a webpage marking all the pipes around the city and declaring the exact expenses that occur to fix them. We can not only save our city’s resources but also help Subal Da & his family better their lives as a gift for helping the city with his skills and initiative.
Subal Da and I have just started, and with the help of the true Kolkata Fanatics, we shall soon be tapping the last tap!
Until then, stay tuned to know more!