New Delhi, August 8: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jodhpur have developed a low-cost water purification and treatment unit for schools in rural areas of Rajasthan. The water purification unit uses membrane-assisted sorption-based Ultrafiltration (UF) technology to make sure the water is purified and retreated for efficient usage.

The developed unit is portable and has initially been installed in five schools of rural areas of Jodhpur, Sirohi and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan. According to institute officials, washing hands multiple times a day, cleaning floors and surfaces in public places has become a routine practice in the wake of the pandemic.

"For the same, water requirement is increasing, hence waste water generation is also increasing in both rural and urban areas. There is a need for smart graded water supply grid, water budgeting and water auditing. "To address this, IIT Jodhpur is using its expertise for looking into water quantity and quality requirements in a holistic manner for the benefit of society. It includes water resource management, water conservation, water purification, waste water treatment, recycling and reuse," said Pradip K Tewari, Head, Department of Chemical Engineering. GATE 2022 Registration Process to Begin From August 30; IIT Kharagpur Launches Official Website.

The team has designed, installed and demonstrated the indigenously developed low-cost water purification and treatment unit for the reuse of treated grey water for non-potable purposes. One of the main advantages of this decentralized unit is that it is operated by the end-user and there is no manpower cost for operating the unit, thus making it cost-effective.

"Local participation of teachers, staff members and students is ascertained through education in installation, operation and maintenance (O&M). This helps in operation and maintenance by local people at the lowest appropriate level as well as adequate capacity building.

"Primary school students are introduced to practical aspects of education in this unit. This acts as an introduction to skill development at primary level as well as a novel approach to decentralised community managed systems," Tewari said.

According to the team, the waste water treatment unit has the potential to encourage hand-washing practice in water scarce areas like Rajasthan that has only 1-2 per cent of the country's water resources.

"By using the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding and equivalent support, IIT Jodhpur will design and install the units in as many as 25 schools in rural areas of Jodhpur and the neighbourhood," Tewari said. Other members of the team included institute's faculty Prashant Kumar Gupta, Vikky Anand and Nirmaly Bachhar.