Friday , 20 April 2018

Way out for Goa’s water woes   

Team B&C checks out EcoloBlue an appliance that manufactures clean drinking water out of the air

Water is essential for day to day living. Unfortunately potable water is becoming a problem in Goa despite copious rains. Lakes and rivers look full of water but localities exist where supply of clean, piped water is scanty throughout the year. So consumers live in daily hardship and spending extra on a water tanker is their only way out.

Atmospheric water generator is being touted as the answer to India’s drinking water shortage. US based, EcoloBlue is been making drinking water from the air since 2007 and lately is started pushing their product in the Indian market. In Goa the company is sold about four units so far, of which one is installed in CIPLA, Verna and the other at a private residence.

Both the appliances are of 0 litre per day capacity and working well with users happy at the purchase, says Vivek Thayil, business development manager.

EcoloBlue, he explains, is no way comparable to a water purifier. It does not require any water source and creates its own water. The machine only needs electricity and can also run on solar power. The apparatus works on dehumidifying technology that extracts water from the humidity in the air. The extracted water is filtered and purified through several filters including carbon, and reverse osmosis, and UV sterilization lights. There is a 12-stage purification process and what comes out from the dispenser is zero- bacteria drinking water that is absolutely clean.

Goa with its high humidity and low levels of pollution is just right for the appliance, says Thayil. It works best at humidity level of above 50 per cent to operate at full capacity but can work on even minimum humidity of 35 per cent. On the other hand when the weather is dry, viz. during winter the machine produces less of water. Then the appliance can be connected to the water tap to step up the supply.

The best thing about the machine is that it also absorbs the pollutants in the air while sucking in the humidity, explains Thayil. It means that customers are breathing in clean air and drinking pure water, he says.

A 30 litre capacity unit is ideal for a family or also a small office. Adding that bigger appliance with a capacity of 100 litres per day or 10 lakh litre per day can easily fulfill larger water requirements of an office or commercial establishment.

Yet ground check reveals that EcoloBlue is not cheap. It is fully imported and therefore expensive. The 30 litre model has factory cost of Rs 86,500 to which customs, freight and local transportation is added. The final cost to the consumer is upwards of Rs 1,23,000. That is a steep price to pay for atmospheric water generator technology and affordable to the rich only.

The machine is costly because it is fully imported and most of the cost is on account of the display panel, points out Thayil. In future the company plans to set up a plant and go in for simpler display to cut down the price for customers, he says. The initial cost is high but in the long run it results in savings to the buyer, is Thayil’s argument.

Meanwhile at Simon Cardozo residence in Pilerne the new EcoloBlue is a great hit. “The appliance is making me drink plenty of water and is a solution to my polluted well. Our well is contaminated by effluents from the Pilerne industrial estate,” says his wife Florie Cardozo.

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