Water Recycling System at International Space Station (ISS)

Tanks of H20 can't be constantly shipped up to the International Space Station to meet the demands of astronauts as transporting anything to the space station is extremely expensive. So, to overcome this problem, the international space station has a unique and complex water system that consumes every last drop of available liquid out of the environment and converts it into potable water. This way the water that astronauts drink is actually a filtered mixture of recycled shower water, old astronaut sweat, and pee of animals present in the station. However disgusting the process may sound, but the end product is as clean as bottled water available on the earth or even better.


Water ATMs in India

Water ATMs have been present in India for about a decade now. Like the ATM machines which dispense cash, these machines take cash in return for water. They can also run on prepaid cards or smart cards and are built and owned by private companies who have rights over public resources. Unlike the packaged drinking water facilities, water ATMs are cost efficient as well as safe for the environment as they do not leave behind any waste. Many states in India have come up with water ATMs as the answer to their water needs. Since 2013, 10,000 ATMs have been constructed in Karnataka. Bangalore got its very first water ATM in 2015 when the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike signed an MoU with WaterHealth India, a subsidiary of US-based WaterHealth International, which provides scalable, safe and affordable water solutions to underserved populations across the world. These machines dispense water for Rs. 5-8 per litre. Puducherry is entirely dependent on groundwater, which has turned saline because of the intrusion of the sea. There the local residents get 20 litres of water for Rs. 7 by a machine that is managed by Hyderabad based company Waterlife. The company aims to provide access to safe drinking water by the year 2020. After a jaundice breakout in slums of Bhubaneswar, the Municipal Corporation installed water ATMs which uses smart cards to provide 10 litres of water and then for every extra litre of water, the user has to shed out Re.1 extra. Since the usage of water obviously extends to more than 10 litres per day, people always have to shed out extra money.


Super fabric that soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria & pollutants

A super hydrophobic fabric, covered with a layer of tiny nanostructures which allow water to run through them while trapping oils and pollutants is developed by scientists in Australia. That sounds awfully simple, so is the manufacturing process. The commercially available nylon which already had a seed layer of silver woven into it is taken. It is then dipped into a vat where a copper layer is electrochemically deposited onto it. The addition of a solution that causes nanostructures to grow on the fabric's surface makes this fabric semiconducting in nature. Due to presence of copper, the fabric possess both antibacterial properties as well as decontamination properties, hence making it the perfect tool for even cleaning and purifying the water in remote areas. Also, it is capable to degrade organic pollutants using visible light. In nutshell, this new fabric can do a lot of jobs ranging from cleaning oil spills in ocean to that in kitchens to even purifying water.

Source: Umesh P Cairae- Facebook

UP students develop smart wash basin to detect water leakage

Two students from electronics and communication department of Moradabad Institute of Technology have developed a 'smart wash basin' in order to do their bit in conserving water. The unit also comes with a water recycling unit to recycle 'grey water' that comes out of taps. The wash basin sends an alert to the user's mobile in case a leakage is detected. The user is also alerted through an alarm bell and an LED light. In an interview with the ANI, Kshitij Singhal, Associate Professor at the Institute says, "The students have made this smart wash basin in lines with the Prime Minister's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. We see that a lot public washbasins keep leaking which is unhygienic and causes wastage. There are three types of alerts- a light, an alarm and an alert on the mobile." One of the students says, "As we know there are a lot of water problems in the country, even in big cities like Delhi and Bengaluru. If something is not done now, then it will be too late to do anything." Along with detecting leakage, the smart wash basin also provides for recycling of water. It uses the traditional sand filter and then through chlorination, the water is made fit for many other purposes. Their team named 'Water Cops' won second prize under the 'Hackathon' Initiative of Ministry of Human Resources.


Water Innovation by an 11 year old

After hearing about the Flint water crisis of 2014, 11 year old Gitanjali Rao was taken aback and wanted to do her bit. Flint, a town in Michigan, US gained media attention when the residents were exposed to untreated water, with high levels of lead. Researching further about it, she came to know that Flint wasn't the only place where the water was contaminated. The fact that there was no inexpensive and fast way to detect lead in water, led her to invent her own device, called the Tethys, named after the Greek Titan goddess of fresh water. Having read about the recently developed nanotechnology by MIT, which was used to detect the presence of harmful gases, she realized that it could be used for a new and better purpose. Her device uses carbon nanotube sensors which are a few billionths of a meter in diameter and could be used to detect lead in water. A simple computer kit connects to the nanotubes and sends the result to a Smartphone via Bluetooth. This way, one can instantly know if the water is safe to drink or not. "When you dip [my invention] into water contaminated with lead, the lead molecules should have a great impact on the current, and it should cause more resistance in the flow of current," Gitanjali said in an interview to Fast Company. When the levels of lead go beyond 15 parts per billion, the device would warn someone that the water was unsafe and tell them to contact their utility. The part of the device that goes into the water would have to be replaced each time but the rest of it is reusable. The whole kit would potentially cost around $20. This idea made Gitanjali the finalist of Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge where she won $25000 cash prize and top honours. The 11 year old genius is currently working with her mentor at 3M and hopes to develop this idea into a product soon. This way people would not have to rely on the officials for water testing, who often cheat on lead tests. She has expressed her wish to become a geneticist or an epidemiologist in the future.