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India Funds Smart Water Management Technology Project

Image credit: Press Information Bureau

The Minister of State for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, has announced that the government is providing financial support of IN₹ 3.29 crores (US$ 411,882) to a start-up incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur for developing smart water management technologies.

A press release informed that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Technology Development Board (TDB) and the start-up for the production and commercialisation of the Dhaara Smart Flow Metre. The flow metre is an integrated system for online monitoring. It uses two beam ultrasonic flow metres that are designed to track water distribution in real-time for applications like drinking water supply, groundwater extraction, industrial water usage, and precision irrigation.

The device collects data through sensors, stores it in the device, and transmits it to the online cloud servers. Then, the data transmitted to servers is analysed and displayed on a dashboard. The solution uses a combination of hardware and software for flow measurement and water management respectively, the release noted.

The system is battery-operated and does not require external power. The hardware architecture is based on the Internet of things (IoT) communication circuits, which are patented in India. Additionally, it complies with ISO and Central Ground Water Authority standards. The water usage data is automatically recorded in an online logbook through telemetry via 4G/2G. The built-in telemetry and battery-operated capabilities make it easy for users to monitor their water consumption virtually anywhere (even when the power is out). Initially, the device will be marketed for commercial uses in hotels, hospitals, malls, IT parks, schools, and industrial users (food products, packaged drinking water, pharmaceuticals, and paper and pulp).

Singh claimed that the device will benefit Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal), a US $751 million central sector scheme that promotes the sustainable management of groundwater resources based on community participation. The scheme is being implemented in 80 water-stressed districts and 8,565 gram panchayats (village councils) of seven states, namely, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. The Dhaara Smart Flow Metre can also help bulk water consumers budget their water usage, understand their patterns and points of inefficiencies, and enable them to build strong strategies to reduce water wastage.

The Central Groundwater Authority has issued guidelines under which every commercial groundwater user must install a smart water meter and pay yearly bills. All the project proponents/users drawing groundwater and seeking/having NOCs shall have to mandatorily install tamper-proof digital water flow metres with telemetry on all the ground water abstraction structures within their premises.

Groundwater levels in various parts of the country are declining because of vagaries of rainfall, increases in population, industrialisation, and urbanisation. As per an assessment of Dynamic Ground Water Resources (2017) carried out by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), out of the total 6,881 assessment units in the country, 1,186 units in 17 states and union territories were categorised as ‘over-exploited’ where ‘annual groundwater extraction’ is more than ‘annual extractable groundwater resource’.

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