Varsity applies grandma’s wisdom for safe drinking water

TamRas is low-cost, copper-based device

Updated - May 09, 2017 03:03 pm IST

Published - May 08, 2017 09:33 pm IST - Bengaluru

Safe & secure water purification device - TamRas, launched by Researchers from Trans Desciplinary University (TDU), in Bengaluru on Monday. K Murali Kumar

Safe & secure water purification device - TamRas, launched by Researchers from Trans Desciplinary University (TDU), in Bengaluru on Monday. K Murali Kumar


For many of us, the sight of water stored in copper vessels reminds us of our grandmothers’ homes. Recognising copper’s potent use in removing pathogens from water and making it fit to drink, Bengaluru based Transdisciplinary University (TDU) has launched TamRas, a low cost copper-based water purification device for rural areas.

TamRas consists of a 15 litre container that can house an immersible copper unit which can give 15 litres of water free of common pathogens over 10 hours. The device, which costs ₹1,500 a unit, will be launched in three areas in Karnataka — HD Kote, Male Mahadeshwara Hills and Raichur — as a pilot.

Reasearchers at TDU, led by Padma Venkat, studied the effect of storing water overnight in copper vessels. She found that when water, inoculated with colony forming units of Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhi and Vibrio cholerae, was stored overnight at room temperature in copper vessels, the organisms were no longer recoverable when cultured, compared to water stored in control glass bottles under similar conditions. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development in 2011. The team designed several iterations keeping in mind cost and utility, until arriving on the present design. “The final device had to be simple and sustainable, without complicated parts that need repair or replacement,” said Dr. Venkat.

The project had to be scalable and community driven to be successful. “Women in rural areas spend a major portion of the day in solving the problem of safe water,” said Hari Ramamurthy, advisor to TDU.

“We have identified self help groups in these three areas who will become entrepreneurs for the product, who can sell the units in monthly instalments for those who cannot afford it, to ensure residents have access to safe, potable water,” he said.

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