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Water Purification in the Digital Age

March 4, 2021

Drinking pure water is imperative to good health. Given widespread water pollution, and the fact that pipelines are old and rusted in many cities, tap water is no longer the most reliable source of water. With cities expanding beyond manageable limits, municipalities are finding it difficult to supply enough treated water through their distribution mechanism, and tankers with water extracted from underground sources are pressed into service. With depleting levels of groundwater in most parts of the country, groundwater too is often contaminated with dissolved impurities such as arsenic, fluorides, and other minerals, beyond permissible limits.

Against this background, most people and establishments in urban areas are forced to use some purification mechanism to treat water before drinking. On a broad level, treatment technologies being used today center around Reverse Osmosis or RO, Ultra Filtration, Ion Exchange, and UltraViolet or UV purification.

Two of the most common and widely used technologies today are RO (Reverse Osmosis) and UV, and a combination of both provide for TDS removal followed by disinfection using Ultraviolet light. Widespread advertising has increased awareness of this combination technology amongst the public and in commercial water purification. However, little known are the hidden facts that raise serious questions about the efficacy of these water purification devices, especially in the commercial water purification segment.

RO (Reverse Osmosis) Systems

In a RO system, water is pushed through a membrane under high pressure, forcing the dissolved impurities (TDS) to “separate” from it leaving a stream of purified water known as ‘permeate’. The reject water stream, consisting of the dissolved impurities (both organic and inorganic in nature) is flushed out of the system and constitutes 80% of the original water volume.

Serious limitations : Traditional RO plant

Purity

While Reverse Osmosis membranes do a great job of reducing the TDS load to give better tasting water, (with a lot of water wastage as collateral damage!) there are serious limitations of membrane fouling and membrane rupturing resulting in crossover contamination. This is an invisible process and can be a grave and silent risk to the health of consumers of this water. In the present RO water purification systems, there is absolutely no way to tell if these silent and deadly processes are taking place within the RO plant. The consumer is blissfully unaware of the germs lurking in his glass, and establishments serving this water are of the belief that the water they serve is safe and pure. It is only when ill health strikes that the connection is made. Besides drinking, RO water used in the preparation of foods and beverages may not be of the desired taste or purity, or both.

Inability to deal with fluctuating TDS levels

Another limitation of the RO system is its inability to deal consistently with fluctuating TDS levels in water due to mixed sources of water supply. The problem is compounded when several locations of a chain of restaurants exist, making the task of monitoring purity and TDS levels across many locations impossible. This means that the safety and taste of foods and beverages supplied across various outlets is inconsistent. It is important to know that fluctuating TDS levels in water have a direct impact on the taste and safety of foods and beverages served in that outlet.

Problem of Water Wastage

Likewise, varying TDS levels also lead to unnecessary water wastage, as irrespective of whether or not the water warrants the usage of RO, traditional RO plants continue to use RO technology, which has been known to be wasteful of water especially in a water stressed country such as India.

Ultra Violet (UV) water purification systems

UV is nature’s way of purification. The sun’s rays have been used since time immemorial to disinfect and deodorize. That’s because of the power of UV rays which is a part of sunlight.

In simple terms, the correct dose of UV light produced by manmade UV lamps destroys the DNA of the pathogen cell and prevents the cell from multiplying.

Today UV purification of water is considered to be the most time tested method of disinfection and is used widely along with filtration to make water safe for consumption. UV is a rapid, chemical free technology with impressive results. All water borne pathogens – both bacteria and viruses are inactivated with the correct dose of UV energy. For areas having surface water with low TDS levels supplied by civic authorities, UV purification is considered the most economical and environment friendly technology available today.

Challenges in UV purification systems

For UV to be consistently effective in its fight against pathogens, a few things must be kept in mind. The UV energy being dosed must be within the required range at all times. The clarity of water must be such that UV rays penetrate easily for an effective kill. If these two conditions are not met with constancy, the disinfection may not be complete, raising a question mark about the purity of water. Unfortunately, UV rays are invisible, and the entire process of purification takes place in closed vessels. So again: it may not be possible to judge the purity of the water simply by looking at it. Sensors embedded in the UV system may be required to monitor these parameters.

Another limitation of UV is that it is simply a disinfection technology and cannot remove or reduce the TDS (total dissolved solids) in water such as pesticides, excessive minerals, etc.

The Future of Water is Digital

Everything is going the digital way in the 21st century and COVID 19 has been a catalyst in this process. Latest to join the bandwagon are consumer appliances that can be digitally controlled through wireless internet technology to enhance comfort and convenience and make many processes “touchless” in these troubled times.

Where water purification is concerned, the reasons for adopting digital technology are far more to do with health and safety than against convenience or comfort. And because the stakes are high especially where thousands of people consume water in a commercial establishment such as an office, bank, or a restaurant, digital technology applied to water purification can spell the difference between disaster and protection, or between negative publicity or positive feedback and customer goodwill. For instance, if both the consumer and the provider of water can be assured of the absolute safety of their drinking water, and that too in real-time, it would make for complete assurance and peace of mind, both for the provider of water and for the consumer.

Digital technologies have the potential to democratize access to water data, actionable information, and, in turn, safe drinking water.

Digital technologies are leading the transformation through the emergence of technologies such as remote sensing, inexpensive sensors, smart devices (e.g., internet of things), machine learning, AI (Artificial Intelligence), virtual reality, augmented reality, and block chain.

We would like to refer to digitally controlled water purification as Internet Water. Internet water uses internet-powered sensors, which keep a tight vigil on water treatment parameters such as purity, TDS levels, and flow, in real-time. Artificial intelligence or AI reads and analyses incoming data from these sensors to crunch this information into actionable bytes for the user of the commercial water purification system. The result? Online purity levels are reported back to the user in real time.

While using Internet Water for commercial purposes, businesses can be absolutely certain about the purity of water, as it offers 24/7 purity monitoring, which is reported back to the user in real-time. Plus, it completely eliminates pathogens, assuring you pure water 24x7 without odor and/ or bad taste

Cloudtap – India’s first Internet Water in the Digital Age

Cloudtap, India’s first and only commercial water purification device is powered by the Internet and AI to give a continuous flow of pure water 24x7, and report performance and purity to you in real-time. Whether simply UV, or a combination of RO and UV technologies, Cloudtap is a revolution in the water purification space.

The Cloudtap purification plant with sensors continuously monitors vital water quality parameters and plant performance 24x7 and sends this data to the internet-based Cloudtap engine. The engine further sends this data to an AI system that receives this data and analyses it, using deep learning proprietary algorithms to ensure that the water is absolutely pure. The Cloudtap AI system even detects minor abnormalities which signify potential problems in the making. Performance alerts detected by the AI system are automatically routed to the nearest field support engineering team based on the GPS location via the Cloudtap engine. Faults or even potential faults are resolved before they lead to a breakdown in the system. To ensure complete transparency, customers have 24x7 access to Cloudtap's online dashboard where they can check water purity and plant performance of all their Cloudtap installations, whether UV powered, or having both RO+UV in their purification process.

To understand how digital technology can be applied to your traditional water purification system to enhance the purity, reduce water wastage or bring down your purification costs call the pioneers of digital water technology in India today. Contact the Cloudtap team to bring the latest digital water technology to your business! Call +91-9321005309 or write to us at crm@cloudtap.in

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