India is home to 18 percent of the world’s population and stores only 4 percent of the world’s renewable water resources (Mishra, 2019). As the population continues to increase and societies get more urbanised, these water resources are prone to exploitation, depletion and toxicity. Some of the primary water conservation strategies include – limiting consumption, reusing and recycling, elimination of losses and pollution prevention (Fedkin, n.d.).
To conserve, protect and save these water resources, innovation and technology can assist in reviving, recycling and overall conserving these water resources. Here are a few such water-related technologies that have been or can be used to conserve freshwater resources:
- Lamaara Technologies: The company developed a cartridge using activated carbon, the size of an index finger with pores that act as micro-reservoirs to eliminate foul smell, harmful metals and colours from the water. The organic water filter can cleanse 30 litres within a few hours and the replaceable cartridge is priced at INR60. This technology can be used to convert sewage or unclean rainwater to clean drinking water. (Singhal, 2019)
During the Kerala floods of 2018, the company had donated around 2000 water purifiers to the Kottayam district.
In addition, the company has used the same technology to build a silicon bottle that can filter water called iBo or ‘Intelligent Bottle’. Essentially, dirty water can be collected in the bottle and pure water can be extracted using the three-layer filtration system that consists of Nano-fibre membrane. (Singhal, 2019)
- Adopt an Island: This is an initiative started by Tarun Nanda, an engineer in Delhi which aims to transform the existing lakes and river into a water-purifying wetland ecosystem that can cope with the amount of waste dump instead of building more failing sewage treatment plants. (Adopt An Island – Bring Life To Hauz Khas Lake, n.d.)
The initiative involves constructing wetlands inside existing drains and water bodies and hence, there is no additional land requirement (Karelia, 2019). This also creates an attractive recreational as well as a natural habitat for plants, birds and fish. This will help have a clean lake, full of plants and wildlife, free from odour and pollution.
- Taraltec Disinfection Reactor: This water purifying device was developed by Anjan Mukherjee, a marine engineer. It is technology developed using biomimicry which allows the device to kill 99% of the microbes in the water. These are fitted into pump-sets and while these pumps extract the groundwater, the device purifies the same by instantaneously killing the germs. (Gupta, 2017)
- Wi-Fi mounted Microcontroller: This particular system developed by students of National Institute of Technology Andhra Pradesh can automate the process of water storage, reduction in water-borne disease and efficient storage. It aims to address mismanagement of water in cities by monitoring wastewater and supply systems such as rainfall recorded, water remaining in the storage tank, water quality index and water supply in a given area. (Financial Express, 2021)
- IBM’s IoT and AI technology: Lake Sembakkam in Chennai is a wetland which has now degraded to a wasteland over the years due to sewage disposal, untreated solid waste dumping and excessive accumulation of salt. In this project IBM volunteers partnered with The Nature Conservancy India to build a technical design for an Internet of Things (IoT) system with sensors for measuring and monitoring water quality, while also enabling remote sensing capabilities and spatial datasets. The system design includes an alert when water quality reaches concerning levels. The goal of this system was to “help maintain the health of aquatic resources by preventing and minimising pollution with regular monitoring of wetlands, bringing the wetlands to a condition where wildlife and fish would thrive.” (Balachandran, 2021)
- Mira: To keep a check on the water quality of the lakes in Bengaluru, Mira, a combination of a smartphone-based application, reagents and an online dashboard as data repository has been developed (Prashar, 2019). It was instituted by the Foundation for Environmental Monitoring, a not-for-profit company that creates open-source products for field use, and NextDrop, a startup creating mobile technology for solving water issues. Further, the entire initiative welcomed support from The Centre for Social & Environmental Innovation, ATREE, Biome Environmental and Friends of Lake funded by Oracle. The goal of the initiative is to decentralise the process of restoration of lakes by involving the public working towards revival of waterbodies in getting real-time data on pollution status of the water bodies under consideration. Though Mira is not a direct water purifying system, it aids and helps in understanding the needs of the waterbody in order to restore and revive the same.
Freshwater is a finite resource with the present rate of development. In order to overcome the challenges society would face without freshwater, these technological advancements are crucial in bridging the problem of water scarcity and in further paving the way for water conservation for a sustainable future.
(n.d.). Lake Monitoring Dashboard. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from http://blrlakesdashboard.org/atree/lakes/#/app/map
Adopt An Island – Bring Life To Hauz Khas Lake. (n.d.). Ketto. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/adoptanisland
Balachandran, M. (2021, December 15). IOT and AI help save one of India’s most polluted lakes. IBM. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.ibm.com/blogs/corporate-social-responsibility/2021/12/water-conservancy-project-india/
Fedkin, M. (n.d.). 6.2 Water conservation and protection technologies | EME 807: Technologies for Sustainability Systems. John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.e-education.psu.edu/eme807/node/642
Financial Express. (2021, June 21). Conserve water: Modern tech to help save water. The Financial Express. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/technology/conserve-water-modern-tech-to-help-save-water/2275255/
Gupta, S. (2017, August 4). This device will kill 99% of microbes in water and end waterborne diseases. The Economic Times. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/startups/this-device-will-kill-99-of-microbes-in-water-and-end-waterborne-diseases/articleshow/59905197.cms?from=mdr
Karelia, G. (2019, October 23). Adopt An Island – Bring Life To Hauz Khas Lake. Ketto. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/adoptanisland
Mishra, G. (2019, October 23). Wetlands, Human Hair & More: 5 Innovations By Indians That Curb Water Pollution! The Better India. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.thebetterindia.com/201010/india-water-pollution-cleaning-complaints-robot-hair-innovation-hair-technology/
Prashar, G. (2019, January 5). A new tech allows citizens to test water quality without expert help. Can it save Bengaluru’s lakes? Scroll.in. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://scroll.in/article/908086/a-new-tech-allows-citizens-to-test-water-quality-without-expert-help-can-it-save-bengalurus-lakes
Singhal, S. (2019, April 15). Kerala Students Build Low-Cost, Organic Purifier That Makes Sewage Water Drinkable! The Better India. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.thebetterindia.com/179089/kerala-student-innovation-low-cost-water-filter-organic-india/