How to save water (and the planet) in your mosque

For Muslims, the process of ablution – a ceremonial act of washing parts of the body – is necessary before praying. So, every mosque will have washrooms that accommodate this process.

However, the ablution process can use up quite a lot of water. Most people will leave the tap running during this process, which ends up wasting a lot of water. A study found that around half of the tap water flows directly to the drain without any contamination (Al Mamun et al, 2014).

The science

Another study by Rozaiza (2002) measured the amount of water used during ablution in 40 mosques, and found it to be ranging between 3 to 7 litres per person at one time. In a different study of his, he determined the average water amount per individual as ranging between 2.5 to 4.5 litres.

So much water is used during ablution that Saudi Arabia, a majority Muslim nation, has one of the highest rates of water consumption in the world despite being one of the poorest areas for sweet water resources.

The actual process of ablution cannot be changed, altered, or adapted. It’s set in stone. So, what can be done to reduce the amount of water being wasted?

Well, one area could be the actual type of taps used. Ghanem (2008) found that different types of taps had different types of water use:

  • Handle taps consume extra amount of water during the moments of opening and closing because of using hands in turning the tap handles. Thus, cannot benefit of flowing water.
  • Mixer taps that mix hot and cold water consume more water every time of use at the start of opening because the user leaves the water flowing until its temperature reaches a suitable level.
  • Mechanical push-button taps waste water because the amount of water in each batch is frequently more than the user needs.

So, the design of the tap affects the pattern of water use during ablution, and this is evidenced in observations of ablution from five tap types in this study, which revealed that 30.3–47 % of water consumed in ablution can be saved if a tap releases water only at moments of need.

Sensor taps

A tap that only releases water when needed would almost certainly imply some sort of automatic function. And there’s no better automatic tap than sensor taps.

Sensor taps are taps that are activated by the user through motion detection, and will only release water once the motion sensor is activated. We previously produced an infographic outlining how sensor taps work.

The key advantages of sensor taps are that they are both water and energy saving, and this can mean your costs are also reduced. A win win!

Saving on water and energy

Water conservation is such an important part of being environmentally friendly. And sensor taps are typically designed with a low flow rate, an aerator in the spout or leakage prevention. For example, when it comes to traditional taps, they pour between 10 and 15 litres per minute.

However, sensor taps would use around 6 litres, plus their valve is closed automatically. Which is useful because a dripping tap can end up wasting between 300ml and 1 litre per hour.

Sensor taps also save on energy use. Each tap requires 6, 9, or 12 volts, dependant on the brand and make.

But, they’re also great for hygiene!

Sensor taps can also reduce the spread of germs around your washroom and between individuals. Something which is essential for when mosques start to reopen again in a post-lockdown coronavirus world.

And this is because they are a non-touch appliance, so no contact is needed from the user when they are using the tap, as you don’t need to manually turn the tap off. It means when you wash your hands or go through the ablution process before prayer, you aren’t unnecessarily spreading germs and the risk of spreading viruses is reduced.

Overall, sensor taps could be a perfect fit for mosques and their washroom needs. They can significantly reduce water use, which as we’ve mentioned above can be quite a unique issue for mosques. But they can also save on energy, reduce costs, and keep your mosque clean and hygienic.

References

  • Abu Rozaiza OS (2002a) The concept of rationalization: the causes of failure and success factors. J King Abdul Aziz Univer Eng Sci 14(1):3–57
  • Ghanem HY (2008) Our role in water conservation. Magazine of waters. http://almyah.net/mag/articles.php?action=show&id=34
  • Al Mamun A, Muyibi SA, Razak A, Asilah N (2014) Treatment of used ablution water from IIUM masjid for reuse. Adv Environ Biol 8(3):558–564
  • Zaied, R.A. Water use and time analysis in ablution from taps. Appl Water Sci 7, 2329–2336 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13201-016-0407-2

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