A low cost water solution

By Dilshad Ahmad and Chetan Malhotra

TCS has worked in water purification for the last two decades. After launching the commercially successful Tata Swach filter we shifted our focus on development of water purification devices that could work well for the masses.

One of the things that we  worked on was a fluoride removal cartridge using aluminum based media and rice husk ash.We  developed the media in  a way that it could remove even trace amounts of fluoride from water automatically, without using electricity or running water. We got this cartridge tested both internally in our own laboratory as well as independently and got some really accurate results.

After having carried out these laboratory tests, we also wanted to know how the cartridge could possibly work in an open field environment.This is when began our exciting collaboration  with the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network

With the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network’s help we began with our quest of finding this out. We visited two highly fluoride hit villages in Madhya Pradesh namely Jasoda Kumji and Miyati for this.

We had interactions with affected people in these villages and we tested the cartridge in a few bore wells as well. To our joy the cartridge worked well in the field,  not only was the cartridge  able to remove fluoride that was present in the water but was also able to improve its taste quite dramatically

Our visit here and our interactions were priceless, as they made us realize just how significant what we were trying to do was in giving people a better chance to a better health.  There was a slight hitch though that we found out while discussing the cartridge with local people and it was in the cartridge being beyond the capacity of poor people to buy.

This made us come back to Pune from Jhabua with a fresh resolve this time; a resolve to make the water filter really work for people;  work for, people who were at the bottom most level of the economic pyramid. We also realized that apart from it’s cost, it’s reach was also a major limitation for this part of the population we were looking at.

Through our past experiences in water purification technology we realized that, the real challenge we had was to adapt technology with readily available materials.  We  thought of the purification process afresh and then went out on the lookout for suitable materials. In a few iterations we were able to fix issues associated with the cost as well as leakage.

Having done with the design part; we now feel confident; that together with other members of the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network we shoud be able to take this filter ahead as a low cost, easilly available enterprise in affected locations

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