This year, with schools bending over backwards to maintain their usual supply of water, schoolbags have become heavier as children are advised to carry more water bottles.
Against this gloomy city-wide backdrop, students of Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School in Mylapore recently received an unexpected but timely gift — a ‘magic box’ that snatches water out of thin air.
On June 23, the 1969 batch of Vidya Mandir celebrated their golden jubilee reunion and on the occasion, they gifted an atmospheric water generator (AWG) to their alma mater. AWGs produce potable water with the moisture in the air.
This AWG unit installed at the school was manufactured by VayuJal Technologies, an IIT-Madras incubated start-up supported by Engineers India Limited. It generates 100 litres of potable water a day.
The equipment was inaugurated by Viji Santhanam, president of Vidya Mandir in the presence of the alumni, retired teachers and the principal.
M. Kannuswamy, president of Vidya Mandir Alumni Association (VMAA) and a student of the 1969 batch, says the brainstorming for the ‘special gift’ started many months ahead of the reunion.
“Over the past few years, the alumni of various batches have presented sustainable gifts such as rooftop solar panels and gen-sets. Our 1969 batch too wanted to make a similar contribution which will benefit the management and the students. One of our batchmates, J. Krishnan is an IIT-Madras alumni and he suggested that we buy the school an AWG, keeping in mind the water crisis. We pooled in funds and bought the unit,” he says.
The AWG unit has been installed on the terrace and a pipeline connects it to the outlet placed on the third floor of one of the buildings.
“The student strength of the school is over 2,000 and naturally the water needs will be high. Most of our students carry extra water bottles but with the AWG, they just need to bring one bottle and just fill it up whenever they want. Besides, students on the third floor need not go all the way to the ground floor to refill their bottles. The water is clean and safe,” says the school principal Shoba Raman.
Kannuswamy says the alumni are planning to install more AWGs at the school once they work out the cost and funding process. The AWG unit needs minimum maintenance. The filters have to be cleaned once a month, and every six months, a technician will check the unit,” says Kannuswamy.