The Central Board of Secondary education has framed water conservation guidelines, making it a mandate for its affiliated schools to become water efficient schools in the next three years.
The schools are asked to conserve water by forming a school water management committee, conducting regular water audits and adopting a rigid water management policy.
According to a NITI Aayog report, there will be a severe water crisis and around 21 cities in India including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting around 100 million people.
As per the guidelines, the schools will be required to use water proficient models, introduce programmed taps with sensors and twofold flush tanks on need, guaranteeing standard check-ups for leakages.
Talking about the newly framed water guidelines, a senior CBSE official said, “Becoming a water efficient school is hardly a choice anymore. Therefore, it will now be mandatory for all affiliated schools to achieve the goal of becoming a water efficient school within the next three years. The hallmark of a water efficient school would not only be reflected in infrastructure but also majorly in the manner of use of water by school stakeholders and their sensitivity towards water conservation.”
“While schools use a tremendous amount of water every day and require water for drinking purposes, restrooms, canteens, laboratories, outdoor for playing fields, lawns and gardens; it must be understood that conserving water helps to reduce a school’s carbon footprint,” the official added.
Defining being a water efficient school as an “institutional responsibility”, the CBSE has asked schools to constitute “school water management committee” that may include administrators, teachers, students, non-teaching staff, parents and even few members from the community.
“The schools will also be required to conduct water audits which will help to set benchmarks and prepare a water efficiency plan, identify infrastructure improvements and better irrigation practices for green spaces in the school besides monitoring habits, practices and processes of school personnel’s water usage,” the official explained.
Installing rainwater harvesting structures, planting native and drought-tolerant plants and replacing old fixtures, are among suggestions made about adoption of a policy of water management.