Water Portability- a looming crisis in India

Posted by Global technology interface on June 15, 2021


Access to safe and potable drinking water has been a serious problem for India, chiefly in rural areas where lack of usable water has resulted in sanitation and health complications and issues. As per the government records in 1980 only 1% of rural India had access to safe and potable water. By 2013 the statistics showed that accessibility improved to 30%, but till date the majority of rural India still continues to live without proper access to safe drinking water.

A recent report by Water Aid report of 2016 states that India is ranked among the worst countries in the world for the number of people without safe water. The report highlights that around 76 million people in India have no access to a safe water supply, and the situation is only getting more grave.

The Asian Development Bank has predicted that by 2030 there will be a water deficit in India by 50%. The Union Ministry of Water Resources has estimated the country’s current water requirements to be around 1100 billion cubic metres per year, which is estimated to increase to 1200 billion cubic metres for the year 2025. It is to be noted that India is not a water scarce country as many perennial rivers flows through the landscape of the country and receives an annual rainfall of 1170 millimetres. But lack of sensitisation and information with regard to both conservations of water and pollution of water sources has resulted in a large part of the population and for them water has become more of a curse than a boon.

Rainwater storage and harvesting is still not a regular practice in India. In 2001, the Tamil Nadu government made it compulsory for every household to have rainwater harvesting infrastructure. A similar experiment has been tried out in the cities of Bangalore and Pune, where housing societies are required to harvest rainwater and it has shown many positive results.

 Fortunately, not just the government but social impact businesses and many start-ups too have taken notice of this situation and have introduced technological products and services based on Internet of Things (IoT) and solar power to battle this rising shortage in the country and are mentioned below;

1. OCEO

Founded in 2017 by Vikram Gulecha, Mahendra Dantewadiya, Hasmukh Gulecha and Rajeev Krishna, Bengaluru-based OCEO is an IoT-enabled smart water purifier that works on a pay-as-you-use (per litre) model. The purifier is installed at the user’s location and they can recharge or buy water credits online through mobile and web application. The user pays only for the purified water and not the cost of the machine or for its maintenance.

2.    Swajal

This WaterTech social impact startup is working towards democratizing access to reliable and clean drinking water by making it accessible and affordable to all. The startup leverages technology innovatively to tackle the water challenge. Their proprietary water ATMs are energy-efficient systems that use solar energy for water purification and vending, have easy-to-use user interfaces and payment mechanisms, IoT-based remote monitoring capabilities built into the cloud platforms (making repairs, upgrades, etc. seamless). These features enable continuous water access even in remote regions with unreliable grids. Swajal has installed over 400 Water ATMs in railway stations, schools, urban slums, rural areas, bus stations, etc. This WaterTech startup has interesting B2G and B2B models that promise great financial and social returns for investors, partners and sponsors. Apart from onboarding many corporate partners for CSR initiatives and franchise partners, the venture has raised funding of USD 1.2 million so far and is planning to raise USD 5 million in the next 2 years and to impact 20 million people in this same timeframe.

3. FLUID–Smart Water Metering

SMART water meters possess a vast array of benefits, including leak detection and prevention, energy reduction, real-time information disclosure, higher precision, as well as a description of water consumption patterns. Besides, wireless networking and two-way remote communications with a local utility eliminate the need for any manual checks as well as reflect relevant and accurate online data 24/7. US-based FLUID develops and manufactures ultrasonic smart water meters, which enable intelligent alarms and have no moving parts, thus, they are unaffected by wear and tear. The peculiarity of this solution implies an easy clamping-on of the meter without a plumber. In addition, it allows setting water goals and receiving insights about water usage habits in order to learn more and increase savings.

  • Hydraloop

Hydraloop collects, cleans and re-uses the water from showers, baths, washing machines, hand basins and air conditioning units. Hydraloop water is clean, clear, safe, and disinfected. It can be re-used for toilet flushing, washing machines, garden irrigation and topping up swimming pools. It offers turn-key products and made to measure solutions for projects of any size. With Hydra loop, one can give water, a second life.

5.    Agua

Founded with a mission of saving water through technology and enabling fair distribution of this scarce resource, Agua Water Systems are highly intelligent, wireless, one-of-a-kind water management system that allows seamless access to water inlets, outlets and meters. This Plug and Play system leverages AI to equip users with smart insights on water usage, water levels in different sources and thereby, plan and control their water consumption. This solution enables users to save up to 40% water, saving lakhs of rupees spent on water bills by large apartment complexes. This startup has won many awards and accolades including the SME Excellence Award for Research and Development 2015 from Karnataka Small and Medium Business Owner Association.

  • Lishtot – Drinking Water Quality Control

Maintaining a high quality of potable water is one of the sustainability challenges nowadays and it poses many doubts. Advanced control and testing devices enable smart city residents to get their drinking water’s safety checked based on various important parameters, e.g., conductivity, pH, temperature, or chemical properties to increase awareness and health confidence. Israeli start up Lishtot offers a “testing as a service” solution named TestDrop Pro. This portable device utilizes differential signalling in an electrical circuit that assists in accurate detecting of various contaminants, heavy metals, chemicals and bacteria at different levels of purity. Furthermore, the app presents immediate results, as opposed to lab testing.

  • WaterGen – Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG)

Atmospheric water generation systems are a new technology trend that is helping to increase drinking water supply in the world and, especially, in indigenous and water-scarce communities. Typical AWGs convert rain, fog, dew, vapour, and natural air humidity into potable water by continuously replicating a natural process of condensation and carefully storing the outcome. Originating from Israel, WaterGen and its heat-exchange technology provide a room for more cost-efficiency, that is, generating clean water at relatively low energy usage (250Wh per litre) at affordable prices.

Creating a water sustainable future is critical and these startups are propelling us towards it with their cutting-edge technological innovations.

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