We created a stand-alone water quality measurement and dispensing unit that attaches to a water filtration plant to automatically and accurately dispense a fixed daily quota of water to registered users. Further, its aim is to provide access to clean drinking water and to enable users to verify the actual water quality.
In recent history, there has been much emphasis on low cost water purification technologies, however, not a lot of work has been done on automated monitoring and evaluation of such technologies. Recent advances in wireless sensors, alongside ubiquitous availability of mobile (GSM) networks in developing countries now make it possible to remotely and automatically monitor the quality of water being dispensed, thereby eliminating the human error/mischief element from the system. While organizations such as Sarvajal have used technologies to measure the use of the purification unit (as a proxy to measure water quality), to our knowledge, no organization has actually been able to remotely and automatically measure actual water quality metrics in real-time. Access to clean water is as important as access to water itself. The health and economic effects of polluted water are well documented. It leads to illness, ailment and even death. Mortality and morbidity impose costs on individuals and families which, above the direct costs of treatment and medicine, may include loss of earning and impaired productivity. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has declared, not only that the fundamental right to life includes a clean and healthy environment, but that access to unpolluted water is the right of every person wherever he lives.
Our proposed device, called Wrind, has two components: an automated water-dispensing unit, and a real-time remote water quality-monitoring unit. Given that Pakistan is an extremely water-scarce country, and water collection at water filtration plants is free of cost, we are working with the government to minimise water wastage and ensure quality. In order to do so, we are currently building a prototype of a 2 x 2 ft. water-dispensing unit which has three components: RFID authentication, a fluid flow meter to measure volume of water dispensed, and a solenoid activated valve to stop/start dispensing. Currently, we are able to accurately measure and dispense water, and also provide authentication via RFID tags, where the user data is stored on a local database. Moreover, we plan to add a two-SIM (one for backup) GSM component (GPRS/EDGE or SMS), where the log files from the Water Dispensing Unit can be pushed to a central database in real time. Also, we plan to design the user-interface of the device to especially cater to the needs of low-literate, less tech-savvy users.
How does your innovation work?
The overall process is divided into three stages:
1) User Registration:
Registration of a new user is done using SMS. A etailer sends a text to the machine with his/her NIC number, their phone number, and card number of RFID. After authentication from the database, a confirmation text is sent to the new user and retailer.
2) Authentication mechanism:
An RFID card is issued to the user when he/she is registered. This new user will scan this card on the machine. Upon authentication, an audio message will be played after which the machine will dispense the water for the user.
2) Flow control and mechanism:
The green and red buttons will enable the user to start and stop the water discharge after registration and authentication. A flow control meter manages the water discharge while level sensors are used to measure the water level in the storage installed with the authentication machine.
What Evidence do you have that your Innovation works?
We are still in the process of rolling out these devices in various regions in Pakistan. However, they have proved to be very effective in India and Kenya as seen in the following news links: