Aabid Surti: The Man Who Saves Million Gallons of Water

Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit

Aabid, as the very name suggests, was born into a Muslim family in Gujarat. His father is a follower of Sufism but his mother tongue is Gujarati. Having obtained a diploma from J.J School of Art, Aabid began his journey as a freelancer. He has 80 books to his credit. His childhood years were spent in a chawl and on pavement. To get a bucket full of water from the common tap, his mother had to stand in the queue early in the morning and often she had to fight for her right. This childhood memory kept on haunting him whenever he saw a leaking tap, overflowing building tank, or bursting pipeline.
On every Sunday morning he visits the topmost floor of his apartment complex in Mumbai’s Mira Road district. He rings the doorbells of all 56 apartments in the complex, asking residents a simple question: “Do you have a leaking tap in your home?” Aabid is accompanied by a plumber and a volunteer. The plumber gets to work, plugging leaks in the homes of those who answer with a yes. Aabid apologises to those who say no. Over the years, Aabid says, his efforts have helped save 10 million litres of water – and also won him fans and followers. Water is known as the elixir of life. Therefore, water conservation is necessary to save lives. Save water, save life Water is necessary for life. Water is needed for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes. Water needs to be conserved for generations to come. A man with this motto started his journey of saving one tap at a time. The spirit of the work that Aabid is doing today is what has infused his work throughout his artistic career. He hired a plumber and started going around fixing leaking faucets in people’s homes free of cost.
According to the statistics, it is found that only 1% of total water is left which is useful for human kind and 98.5% is available in sea which is salted water and not worth for existence of life. About 71% area of earth is covered by water which is also referred as Hydrosphere of earth, in which 96.5% water is found in seas or oceans which is salted water and not useful for anyone. Also 1.7% is in ground water, 1.7% in glaciers and 0.001% in the air in form of vapour or clouds. 2.5% of total water on earth is fresh water in which 98.8% is ice and ground water; thus, only around 1% is found as potable water. By seeing this calculation we can imagine that how much water is available which is useful for us.
The modern-day Jal Rakshak, Aabid currently resides in Mumbai and very well understands how precious water is, having coped with water shortages himself. Since the time when that leaking faucet bothered him so much, Aabid has not stopped. In the first year of the Foundation’s existence, in 2007, he had visited , 1666 houses on Mira Road, fixed 414 leaking taps free of charge, and saved about 4.14 lakh litres of water. In this current situation, when a less amount of fresh water is left on earth, we are still careless about the misuse of water, which is completely wrong in all way. We are continuously wasting this precious nature’s gift by doing some bad and objectionable acts. It is to be remembered that thousands have lived without love, not one without water.

—The author can be reached at: dixitpatrakar@yahoo.in