In a country where women often have to walk miles to find and collect drinking water for their families, the WaterMaker project to produce water from thin air is no less than magical. It is, in the words of one grateful recipient, “khuda ka paani.”
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words: “producing water from air”? When Meher Bhandara, the founder and director of WaterMaker India, heard them, she was intrigued. “Water from air? How is that possible?” she wondered.
Today, Meher and her small team of eight people, are making it possible for many places in rural India to enjoy clean and pure drinking water produced right out of air.
“When we first heard of this technology in 2004 from a scientist in the US, we laughed. But after he told us more about it, the first thought that struck us was that India needed clean drinking water desperately. We checked out the machines that use this technology and were really amazed. As social entrepreneurs, we decided to make these unique Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) in India, so we could provide clean and healthy drinking water to people who needed it the most…Today we are proud to say that we have the largest range of AWGs — producing from 120 litres to 5000 litres per day. We also export these WaterMakers (AWGs) to many other countries,” says Meher.
Meher and her team took part in an exhibition in Delhi, where they showcased one AWG machine just to see how people would react to it. “The people were completely amazed. They could actually see drops of water forming from thin air. People were literally walking around the machine and looking under it to see if there were any hidden pipes.”
It was then, in 2004, that they decided to manufacture the machines in India itself so as to have control over the quality and delivery of the machines.
How does it work?
So how does air lead to the production of water? The machines work basically on the simple refrigeration technique of condensing the humidity in the atmosphere and collecting the resultant water. After the condensation process, the water is passed through various filters to purify it, resulting in clean drinking water.
“Our technology is most effective in areas where the temperature is between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius, with relative humidity conditions over 65-75% or more. Producing water directly from air, WaterMakers need no water source. Using electricity or any alternate energy source, we use techniques optimized to condense water from air. Water quality complies with WHO/BIS standards and the water contains no harmful chemicals, bacteria, pesticides, or minerals,” explains Meher.
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