Design

Smart water solution

(From left) Akhil Nichani, Jay Puducheri and Shantanu Vyas.  

If you live in Chennai, you cannot miss the long lines snaking in front of water tankers, as women and children wait, colourful plastic pots in hand, for their turn to come. Collecting water for domestic use is an arduous and thankless task that mostly falls upon the family’s women, taking up a good portion of their daily time.

It is to change this that a bunch of youngsters from Chennai got together to find a solution. A group of 15 college students are making Paani Genie, a 90-litre plastic barrel that can be rolled on the ground with the help of a steel handle attached to it.

“A standard plastic pot ( kodam) holds 15-20 litres of water and, in most cases, women make multiple trips carrying two pots at a time to meet their family’s needs,” says Jay Puducheri, president of the Paani Genie company. “With Paani Genie, we want to reduce the trips and the physical labour.”

Inspired by the Hippo Water Roller Project in South Africa, the team is now making Paani Genies for supply to a village two hours outside Chennai. “We’re working closely with the Hippo Water Roller Project and use their expertise not just to make the container but also to explain its use to the people. We have chosen Vinayaganallur, which has a significant water problem during summer. With around 100-150 houses, the village isn’t too large for us to run a product trial. Considering it is just two hours away from the city, we can go there every weekend,” the team says. Jay and Akhil are students at SRM University, while Shantanu is pursuing a distance education course from the University of London.

The Hippo Roller is made of linear low-density polyethylene, but Paani Genie is being made with high density polyethylene to suit India’s rough terrain. “We expect each roller to last three to five years. The idea was to create an all-terrain roller of high quality. Also, since we have no plans of giving it for free, we expect the users to take good care of it and not treat it like a freebie.”

It takes Rs. 3,500 to make each Paani Genie, which is raised from individual, social-minded sponsors. “We will hand over the rollers at a reasonable cost of Rs. 100 to a few people and observe its use. When limited to a small group, it will be easier to keep track. Also, it is important to note what they do with the roller, once water supply improves after summer.”

The team has no intention to patent the product. “We’re not here to make a profit. Nor do we want others to misuse it. This is why we’re going to make the product licence free. It shouldn’t be limited to a few homes and places, its reach should be wider,” says the team.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:13:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/design/smart-water-solution/article7161651.ece

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