Kothara, Kutch

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Harvesting water from humid air

The Times of India, September 20, 2015

Ankur Tewari

Getting drinking water from humidity in this Kutch village

Kothara village in Kutch has 30 non-toxic plastic condensers installed in a surface area of 540sqm to generate water from humid air. This is filtered, stored in tanks and dispensed through pouches. In just four months, 13,500 litres of drinking water is produced and the cost for this is Rs30 per 20 litre container.

On clear nights, the top surface of condensers gradually cools by losing heat via radiation to sky and the dew is collected in containers. Though condensers are specifically engineered to condense dew, rain can be routinely harvested using the same surface.

The entire experimentation is being carried out by Anil Roy, a professor at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT). The project aims to demonstrate how atmospheric moisture can be processed into safe drinking water comparable in quality and price to reverse osmosis (RO) processed water available in the market.

As part of project, a water production plant has been constructed in Kothara village, where dew yields are processed into drinking water. The project was initially driven by DA-IICT Prof Girja Sharan, who recently passed away. Professor Daniel Beysens from Paris Diderot University is also part of the team.

Professor Roy said: "Three-fourth of the Kutch residents get their household supply from open wells, which is chemically potable. Thus, dew can be a magic source of this precious commodity. " He said: "Arid Kutch region gets 300mm of rain over 15 to 20 days in monsoon season. Dew occurs from October to May with 100 to 115 dew-nights and 20-25mm of dew water over the season. A plant can potentially harvest 320-325mm of atmospheric moisture during the year." He said the US, France, and Germany have evinced interest in the project.

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