Society

A device that cuts water use by over 90%

My domestic help is shooting me dirty looks as she struggles to do the dishes. The kitchen tap that would otherwise gush out water is now managing just a fine spray; perfect to wash your hands and fruits and vegetables, but not so perfect when doing the dishes. The culprit is the newly-installed Qua Mist, a brass extension to the tap that turns water into a fine mist. It’s purpose: to save water; up to 95% apparently. And I have zealously bought a couple and fixed them to taps in the house in light of the ongoing water scarcity.

Turns out, your average water tap releases as much as six to 10 litres of water per minute. With the Qua Mist you can cut that down to about 600 ml per minute. Innovated by Earth Fokus, a city-based startup that works towards finding sustainable solutions to environmental problems, Qua Mist is the first of its products. Launched in 2017, the products however have gained a lot of traction in the last couple of months as the city grapples with a drought. Says Arun Subramaniam, the founder, “We’ve sold about three times more in the last two months than we did in the last two years put together.”

A device that cuts water use by over 90%

The device is easy to install. It comprises a lead-free brass aerator that fits into the tap along with a washer. It has a small spout to which one attaches a triangular cap with a 1 mm hole. This cap can be twisted to adjust the flow of the water. At its tightest, the device reduces the water flow to a fine spray, almost like mist.

The idea for Qua mist emerged when Arun was approached by his neighbour and now mentor Najeeba Zabeer to put together a device to reduce the amount of water wasted in her kitchen. “I was on a six month break after college back then and thought I’d give it a try. The first prototype I made was using a garden sprinkler that I bought online. Ever since, I’ve been working on it with my team. We’ve constantly been making iterations and have now managed to create a compact version that can be used by anybody. It can be easily installed; there’s no need of a plumber,” says Arun, who holds a degree in Automobile Engineering.

A device that cuts water use by over 90%

Once the product took shape, they decided to go commercial with it. Arun then set up Earth Fokus along with two friends Roshan Karthik and Sathish Hari Babu. Najeeba went on to invest in the company and help with her expertise. As the trio continued testing the product, Sathish, who has a background in Aerospace Engineering helped the team with simulating the water flow using cutting edge technology. “That helped us perfect the design,” says Arun.

Finding a manufacturer proved to be a huge challenge for the team. It took them eight months to find one and are now looking for more as they’re scaling up manufacturing given the increase in demand.

A device that cuts water use by over 90%

Corporates such as Cognizant, Accenture, HCL, TCS, Wipro, and Ford are looking to install the water savers in their offices. In fact, Cognizant was one of their first clients and has decided to install their products in all its offices across the country. “For the corporates, we’ve created Eco Mist, which is essentially the same product, but has no external cap. It fits entirely inside the tap. Once Cognizant began using our product, they’ve been managing to save seven kilo litres of water per day per building. That’s a significant amount of water being saved,” says Arun.

The team uses lead-free brass. “This isn’t readily available, so we order all the raw material. The idea is to avoid lead percolating into the water over time. Also there’s no clogging. The only problem we face in Chennai is scaling, given the hard water we get. That too can easily be cleaned using a combination of lime and vinegar,” says Roshan.

A device that cuts water use by over 90%

The one thing that both Qua Mist and Eco Mist need in order to work well is a high pressure flow of water; which isn’t a problem in most buildings these days since they use pressure pump systems.

Earth Fokus has also been approached by a lot of apartment associations to see if it can be installed. “We’re already working on our next product, which is also directed towards cutting water consumption. As a company though, we aim to work towards creating products that encourage sustainability and conservation. It could have to do with anything from water, earth, to air. We’re all about working towards improving the planet. We want our products to change mindsets, become a habit, just like a smartphone or tablet,” says Arun.

Earth Fokus ships all over India. For details, visit earthfokus.com.


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 4:49:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/a-device-that-cuts-water-use-by-over-90/article28126559.ece

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