Saaf water monitors water contamination for communities
At a glance
It is estimated at around 2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water, and as climate changes, the problem is getting worse. Even if governments know that a water source is unsafe, it’s challenging to get this information out to the community whose health may be at risk. The Saaf water solution includes a hardware monitoring component that can be connected to incoming pipes to measure water quality in real-time. The information is processed using AI, and a simple dashboard and mobile app can notify a community directly if water is unsafe and provide purification recommendations.
Deployment locationGoa, India
- IBM Watson
- IBM Cloudant NoSQL database
State of readiness
- In testing
The Saaf water story
For the 2021 Call for Code Global Challenge, a group that had met while working on their internships for IBM in Bangalore decided to work on a project close to their hearts. Team member Hrishikesh saw the danger of drinking unsafe water when his mother became ill from drinking her groundwater supply that was assumed to be safe. All team members had similar experiences from their own villages across India. The team built an IoT and AI platform that would be able to monitor drinking water coming through pipes in real-time and provide direct alerts to the community via a mobile app.
This Saaf water team won the 2021 Call for Code Global Challenge and are now on the path to becoming a sustainable business. They are building a more robust AI platform that can provide personalized recommendations based on the levels of contamination in water (such as boiling the water for low levels of contaminants and avoiding the water completely when particular contaminants are present). They have been moving quickly to test their solution in a number of locations including schools and flats. In India, many facilities use groundwater from wells to augment the metered water supply. Beyond alerting communities to contaminated water, the solution can also be useful to determine when alternative sources may be used. For instance if there are generally low levels of contamination in groundwater, this could be expanded beyond the bathroom and into the kitchen.
The team are also working to extend partnerships to provide a more complete solution. Most recently, Arrow Electronics has arranged for engineers in India to provide the Saaf water team with engineering design services and components sourcing for their prototypes. Looking ahead, the team are also looking to partner with businesses that filter and improve water quality, to provide a complete solution that can go beyond an alerting system and actually fix issues with water. They also see the potential to move out of India and help other communities globally that may have problems with contaminated drinking water.
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