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Each day, the city of Bengaluru produces about 1400 million litres of wastewater, a majority of which ends up in drains and lakes. For a country that faces severe water shortage, recycling wastewater holds great potential to address this scarcity.

India Currents spoke with Vikas Brahmavar and Gowthaman Desingh, co-founders of Boson Whitewater, one of the startups picked for a grant from the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, on how they have helped transform the perception of recycled water. The India Water Pitch-Pilot-Scale Startup Challenge challenges startups like theirs to work in the field of water supply, used water management, water body rejuvenation, and groundwater management.

IC: How does Boson Whitewater (BWW) use IoT and AI to convert water from sewage treatment plants into potable high-quality water?

GD: BWW is a-11 stage filtration system. It designed to reduce the various physical, chemical, and biological contaminants present in the treated wastewater. Treated wastewater is taken through various filtration systems to reduce the turbidity, TOC, odor, and iron present in the water using our unique media-based filters. BWW uses different types of dosing systems to reduce the organic contaminants present in the water, followed by different levels of micron filtration systems.

Post the micron filtration stage, the water is free from physical contaminants. Then, it is taken through the Boson high recovery, low fouling membrane system, which is designed to remove the various viruses and dissolved salts present in the water, thereby getting high quality, low TDS water. After filtration, any residual bacteria and virus present in the water is removed using Ultra Violet (UV) disinfectant system.

Every stage is complemented by the Boson IoT platform to measure the health and efficiency of every stage of filtration. The parameters like water quality, quantity and pressure at every stage of filtration. It uses AI algorithms to detect various anomalies like filtration efficiencies, variation in life of filters and pump failures. These datasets help us in managing our inventories and manpower better.

At the end of all the stages, the water does not have any contaminants. E. coli, coliforms, heavy metals, high hardness, pesticides, and herbicides are all removed, and the water is crystal clear and potable. NABL certified lab reports indicate the water is drinkable.

IC: Boson Whitewater was selected for the India Water Pitch-Pilot-Scale Start-Up Challenge by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs. Tell us more.

GD: We are one among the 76 startups selected for the challenge from across India to work in the field of water supply, used water management, water body rejuvenation, and groundwater management. The initiative is aimed at empowering water startups, and it is a part of the Union Government’s AMRUT 2.0 (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation). Each startup is given a grant of Rs 20 lakhs, and they will work in the field of water supply management and water body rejuvenation.

IC: Tell us about working with malls and IT parks.

VB: We are currently recovering about 35-crore litres of potable water from sewage water every year, and so far we have created almost 59-crore litres of potable water, which otherwise would have gone to the drain. Our post-treatment is designed specific to the customer’s water quality requirement.

Malls and IT parks have excess STP-treated water, which is disposed in drains and in some cases, it is tanked outside as the drain overflows. On the other side, they buy water for their cooling tower water needs.

We have solved both the problems by taking the excess STP-treated water as input, and converting it to high-quality water for the cooling tower. This avoids large quantities of cooling tower chemicals, and does not waste a lot of water in the cooling tower blowdown. It’s not just saving water, but also saving money in procuring water and disposal of waste water.

Industries may use STP-treated for laundry or other, specific water quality requirement.

IC: The startup has recently raised $4.58K in funding from the Indian Angel Network. What are your plans for the future?

GD: We want to establish our Boson Whitewater system at 10 large apartments in this financial year and save about 50 crore litres of water additionally. We want to set up similar systems in IT parks and malls. In the next financial year, we want to move to Hyderabad and Chennai [from Bengaluru] and focus on similar markets.

We want to be a water utility company focusing on selling the highest quality of water. With our collaboration and partnership with various citizen forums and industries, we should reach 500-crore litres of water created from waste water over the next few years.

IC: How have you transformed the perception of recycled water?

VB: The perception of recycled water has to be changed. When we use the term “recycled water,” most people never think of potability reuse. They always assume that recycled water is purely for secondary use. This is the perception we set out to change. We renamed recycled water to whitewater. We were happy to find out that many citizen institutions now use the word “whitewater” in their discussion.

India is very resourceful, and we should look at the water scenario with an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset.

Neha Kirpal

Neha Kirpal is a freelance writer based in Delhi. She has worked for over a decade in print, television, and online media. Her diverse interests in the culture beat include books, music, travel, films,...