Unlike other parts of Bengaluru that are struggling with water this summer, the Dhobi Ghat opposite Hosmat Hospital has a self-sufficient method of water consumption, that the workers claim never disappoints them.
This summer, even as the people living in Bengaluru are bearing the brunt of water scarcity, a dhobhi ghat is functioning with ease without facing water shortage issues. The dhobi ghat near Garuda Mall in Ashok Nagar where huge quantities of clothes that arrive from various parts of the city are washed and dried, is self-sufficient when it comes to water needs.
The water utilised by the washers is completely sourced from a well in the same area which has never dried up. According to the washers who work there, the ghat is almost 60 years old, and has been working in the same fashion ever since. The well is 60 feet deep and has electronic pumps fitted in, to pull out water with ease. But, the washers use conventional pulleys to draw water, since there are regular power cuts.
There are different groups of people who use the ghat simultaneously. Lokesh, one of the washers who uses the ghat regularly says: “we don’t face water shortage here. The well provides enough for all the workers. Summer time doesn’t affect us at all.” When asked about the number of people who use the well, he says, “there are at least 40 of us who use this water regularly but we cannot be sure since all of us have different timings. Some people come in the evenings to soak clothes, and then dry them in the mornings. Many come during the day time”
In this dhobhi ghat the used waste water is systematically flown to the drain. Lokesh explained to the reporter that all of the used, soapy water went into well connected drains, which are connected to larger drainage systems. The method they follow to use water for washing clothes conserves water. The water is collected from the well into large buckets and drums, and clothes are repeatedly soaked in the drums, before beating and washing them clean and there is no overuse of water.
Almost all of the clothes washed in Ashok Nagar dhobhi ghat belong to restaurants and hotels. Bhaskar, another washer who gets regular contracts from different hotels around the area, says, “all the people here are contracted by different hotels to wash clothes, bedsheets, curtains and other materials.”
Curiously, there are also long lines of football jerseys that are hung across some lines. When asked whether they received washing materials from the hospital nearby, Bhaskar said, “we do not take hospital clothes to wash since we cannot mix infected clothing with normal clothes.”