Science for Society

Other Societal Benefits - Water

Department of Science & Technology


Water Technology Initiative (WTI)

Water Technology Initiative (WTI), launched in August 2007, aims to strengthen the R&D capacity and capability to develop research-based solutions for existing and emerging water challenges facing the country in the area of water quality, quantity and water reuse and recycling. The programme promotes national and collaborative developmental research, builds the capacity of research professionals and water managers, evolves methodology for the development of customized solutions suited to social context and develop synergies with line departments. It also envisages upscaling and replication of proven technologies/ solutions to a credible scale. The initiative directly caters to furthering Sustainable Development Goal #6 (Clean water and sanitation) which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The scheme is also relevant to the national mission of “Swachh Bharat” and “NamamiGange”. The Major Programmes include Research, Development &Demonstration (RD&D) and Demand Driven convergent solutions; Water Technology Research and Innovation Centres (WATER-IC); DST-NERC Collaboration on Water Quality Research; DST-NWO Joint Programme on Urban Water Systems; Desalination Mission and Water Advanced Research & Innovation (WARI) Fellowship. 

Pre Cast Toilet Technology Package

The production system is designed for manufacture of precast toilet panels using reinforced cement concrete. The modifications have been made in reducing wall thickness of panels, increasing the inner dimensions to 1.10m x 1.10m and incorporating a groove in the roof panel for interlocking with wall panel. The reduction in wall thickness was done to reduce the dead load of the panels and to bring down the cost of toilet.

Developed By: Development Alternatives - Technology and Action for Rural Advancement

Jal-TARA Arsenic Monitoring and Purification Package

The Jal-TARA Arsenic Monitoring and Purification Package provides both monitoring and purification services, Jal-TARA Arsenic Test Kit and Jal-TARA Filter. Jal-TARA Arsenic Test Kit has a broad testing range of 10ppb – 500ppb. At low concentrations, the test kit maintains accuracy in results. Jal-TARA Arsenic Filter can be used by a household to filter up to 7 Litres of contaminated water per hour (reducing arsenic concentration below 50ppb as prescribed by IS 10500 1991). Jal-TARA Arsenic Filter is an offline water purification solution. It does not require electricity to operate nor does it require any chemicals to be added to water for purification process. The filter is ideal for rural areas and easy to install and use. One cartridge can provide up to 2000 litres of Arsenic-safe water. 

Developed By: Development Alternatives - Technology and Action for Rural Advancement

Community-owned and Community-operated (COCO)-Model Powered by Solar Energy

As part of the Market access for affordable Safe water solution packages DA has piloted an innovative “Community-owned and Community-operated (COCO)-Model” powered by solar energy for supplying safe drinking water to three villages: Pipra, Govindnagar and Chandraban in the Bundelkhand region. Part of the capital expenditure is funded by a donor organisation, and part by the community, the model is able to achieve operational break-even. The monthly charge of Rs 25/- collected from households in each of the three villages accumulates to a fund that is large enough to cover the annual maintenance and repair expenditures. Therefore, once the initial infrastructure is in place, the community can independently undertake operations without external support.

Developed By: Development Alternatives - Technology and Action for Rural Advancement

Aqua Water Purification Solution

Society for Development Alternatives, in partnership with Antenna Technologies, Switzerland used WATA technology to productize sodium Hypochlorite solution under the brand name of Aqua+. It uses a simple, manageable process of electrolysis to convert a mixture of salt and water into sodium hypochlorite. The resulting solution can be used for purifying water and make it safe for drinking. It is an affordable and reliable water purification option for the Bottom of Pyramid (BoP) households and protects the local communities against waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery. Aqua+ is a 50 ml bottle of Sodium Hypochlorite solution that is ideally suited for the BoP. This affordable solution can provide safe drinking water to a family of 5 for 1 month for only Rs 35.

Developed By: Development Alternatives - Technology and Action for Rural Advancement

Jal- TARA Nitracheck

Development Alternatives has developed a fast, easy to operate, robust and reliable way to check presence of nitrate in water. Jal-TARA Nitracheck uses two simple reagents and a simple method to indicate presence of nitrate a water sample of 5 ml, through a colour comparison chart. The process takes a little above 10 minutes, mixing of reagents takes less than 30 seconds while the colour appears in 15 minutes. Ease of use and less time requirement were the primary factors kept in mind while developing the kit. With an aim that anyone can use this kit in the field to determine the presence of nitrate in drinking water, the kit is robust, not susceptible to damage and the reagents are stable for longer period of time. The kit gives an indicative result based on colour which can be matched to the 3 colour chart given along with the kit that represent 3 different concentrations of nitrate in water, (i) BIS prescribed desirable limit of 10 mg/L (ii) permissible limit of 45 mg/L and (iii) unacceptable limit of 100 mg/L.

Developed By: Development Alternatives - Technology and Action for Rural Advancement

Department of Biotechnology

Water4Crops boosts farmer income

The European Union and Government of India co-funded project Integrating Bio-treated Wastewater Reuse with Enhanced Water Use Efficiency to Support the Green Economy in EU and India.

It has shown remarkable success in reducing water scarcity and helping safe reuse of wastewater in agriculture. By constructing wetlands with plant species such as Cann indica, lemon grass (Cymbopogon), napier (Pennisetum perpureum X Pennisetum americarnum), para grass (Urochloa mutica), typha (Typha latifolia), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and a weed species Agaratum Conyzoides the chemical oxygen demand in wastewaters have been reduced by 30 92%. Moreover, yield evaluations have shown increased crop yields (14 to 40%) of crops like okra, brinjal and chilly irrigated with treated wastewater as compared to fresh water.

The initiative involved 11 Indian institutes and 21 EU institutes to bring about better management of water, land & crops aimed at a viable, stronger & sustainable green economy at an amount of 19 Million Euros.
Indian consortium partners have demonstrated the use of constructed wetland as decentralized wastewater treatment systems for both industrial and municipal wastewater. At the SAB Miller plant in Sangareddy, Telangana, and K.C.P. Sugar and Industries Corporation Ltd in Lakshmipuram, Andhra Pradesh, constructed wetlands were prepared to treat the effluent coming from effluent treatment plant of the factories. Similarly, constructed wetlands were used to treat municipal wastewater at multiple locations in the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Industrial Wastewater treatment

Combined treatment of T. angustifolia and P. scrobiculatum was found to be more effective for treatment of textile dyes and real industrial effluent than individual plants.
Textile dye processing industries use a huge number of various classes of coloring agents, such as direct, reactive, sulfide, acid and cationic dyes, which are later found in the released effluents.
Pollution caused by textile industries is the result of discharge of these dyes and other processing chemicals into the environment. Because of the presence of complex mixture of dyes, acids, bases, fasteners etc., textile effluents generally have high chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved solids, suspended solids and other toxic heavy metals. Allergic reactions, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and acute cytotoxicity of textile dyes on crop plants, fishes, molluscs, rats, microbes and cultured mammalian cells are well documented evidences of dye toxicities. Treatment of dye containing industrial wastewater is therefore highly desirable before their discharge into the naturally occurring water bodies.

Phytoremediation process possesses adsorption, accumulation, degradation and biotransformation of pollutant by the action of enzymes or metabolism of plants. The plant induced peroxidase and laccase have potential to decolorize and degrade various pollutants. Significant induction in specific activities of oxido-reductive enzymes such as lignin peroxidase (193%), veratryl alcohol oxidase (823%), laccase (492%) and azoreductase (248%) was observed in root tissues of T. angustifolia.

Co-plantation of T. angustifolia and P. scrobiculatum in a drench was found to achieve more efficient treatment than the drenches with individual species. Use of aquatic macrophytes and their co-plantation could be a wise strategy for future wastewater clean-up programs. This work is performed by Prof Sanjay Govindwar of Department of Biochemistry, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, India at HRTS of 5 star MIDC, Kagal, India.

River clean up 

DBT has collaborated with Dutch to help clean Delhi’s Barapullah drain then finally initiate efforts to keep the Yamuna clean.
In the next five years, a wastewater treatment plant to make the filthy water potable is scheduled to be set up besides removing heavy metals from the water for reuse. Barapullah Nullah is a 12.5 km-long storm water drain responsible for about 30% of pollution in the Yamuna River collecting domestic sewage and polluting waste from small industry from Mehrauli in the south to Sarai Kale Khan in the east.
The project supports high quality research and development programmes aiming at ‘new’ wastewater management to ensure good quality fresh water free of risk-causing contaminants and promote productive, safe reuse of water, thereby enhancing human and environmental health conditions.

Decentralized wastewater treatment system

This project by the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani Goa campus, aims to develop a financially affordable and simple-to-operate decentralized wastewater treatment system for a single household as well as for a gated community of 100 people equivalent (25 families) that will produce high quality effluent for safe disposal. The waste treatment system will involve the bio-electrolysis of wastewater to reduce its Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and odor. The project has constructed and is currently testing the decentralized wastewater treatment system for a community of 100 people equivalent and will undertake extensive testing of effluent.

Bio-toilet technologies 

Innovative bio-toilet ideas have been generated through Reinvent the Toilet Challenge India launched by the Grand Challenges India framework. Six new bio-toilet technologies have been supported and hundred toilets set up to demonstrate technology. Several bio-toilets have been set up in schools of North Eastern States. The technologies focused on redesigning the toilet seat and making it more eco-friendly. Off-grid, self-sustained, modular, electronic toilet for slums, with solar energy for Indian weather and integrated with mixed waste processing unit & water, energy/ fertilizer recovery have been set up.