CIO Insider

CIOInsider India Magazine


Chennai Water Crisis and Technology the Redeemer

CIO Insider Team

They say the world is nearing end and time and again it has been predicted that a particular date will see the worlds end. Well, this might be true but not the exact way it is stated. Not all at once, but the planet is dying a slow death for sure. As morbid as it sounds, it is true. It is established that climate change is real and we’re past the foreseeing stage. Currently, India is already witnessing the aftermath of our negligence towards conserving water. Chennai, the sixth-largest city in the country is going through a severe water scarcity. With all the four reservoirs that cater to the 4.64 million population of Chennai city having gone dry, India’s sixth largest city has run out of its drinking water. We have all the resources in technology and the feats we’ve achieved are probably the greatest point in the history of our timeline as humans. But we have destroyed our habitat to kingdom come. About time, we put our accomplishments to our deliverance from the impending apocalypse.

The well was a transformative invention, though it is often overlooked. This source of freshwater, vital for the expansion of inland communities, dates back nearly 10,000 years – 3,000 years before the wheel was ever imagined. The well is but one of a long list of innovations in water technology that have enabled human development to continue apace.

Currently, Waste water processing, intelligent irrigation, smart monitoring of water distribution and

mobile recycling facilities are the most appropriate technology adoptions that can save water. It is estimated that 45m cubic metres are lost every day in distribution networks. Leaks are not only costly for companies, but increase pressure on stretched water resources and raise the likelihood of pollutants infiltrating supplies. New monitoring technologies help companies to ensure the integrity of their vast water supply networks. Electronic instruments, such as pressure and acoustic sensors, connected wirelessly in real time to centralized and cloud-based monitoring systems will allow companies to detect and pinpoint leaks much quicker.Approximately 70 percent of the world's freshwater is used by the agricultural industry. Applying a more intelligent approach to water management by deploying precision irrigation systems and computer algorithms and modeling is already beginning to bring benefits to farmers in developed countries. The farmers in Chennai have already reported the fields producing zero yields in 2015 due to little or no rain and sometimes ‘flood’ like downpours. Intelligent irrigation can fix the harvest problems at least assuring an important segment of our society.

New technologies are promising to transform wastewater into a resource for energy generation and a source of drinking water. Modular hybrid activated sludge digesters, for instance, are now removing nutrients to be used as fertilizers and are, in turn, driving down the energy required for treatment by up to half.

Over the years, various social startups have developed solutions using emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and more. This could be their moment to rise and save the country from an extreme water crisis. Startups like AMRIT (Arsenic and Metal Removal by Indian Technology), WaterWalla, Kheyti, and NextDrop etc.

AMRIT is a nanoparticle-based water technology that is making arsenic-free water a reality in India. The water purifier is in use in several places in West Bengal. At the same time, NextDrop tackles the problem of water scarcity by tracking water supply for utilities. The Bangalore-based platform informs its users at what time water will be supplied in their area, if there are any delays and most importantly if there is a cancellation by using basing mobile phone. Consumers can accordingly plan appropriately.

We still have a shot. We can start with the technologies of our times. As we move forward, newer inventions and concepts can accelerate our recovery from the current environmental situation.

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