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Bringing Technology to Grassroots - Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Unit

B.A.R.C. is a premier multidisciplinary R&D organization under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, engaged in research and development with the objective of generating knowledge and technique for nuclear power production, advancement of science, use of radioisotopes in industry, health and agriculture, research in frontier areas of science and technology. Under the framework of DAE societal initiative, based on the development of Non-Power Applications (NPA) in medical, food preservation, waste management, other industrial and rural applications at BARC, a structured program is evolved, "Advance Knowledge and RUral Technology Implementation" (AKRUTI) for techno economic growth of rural areas, as one of the many schemes for Large-Scale Deployment of NPA. "Enable and empower villages with Eco-sustainable S&T based work plan for techno-economic growt" is the mission of DAE-Societal initiative.

Under the AKRUTI program, the basic needs of the rural people are accomplished through modern indigenous know-how and technologies. This enables the villagers to take active roles in technology application & required upgradation through AKRUTI / KRUTIK /FORCE. This itself would create village entrepreneurship and make this activity self-sustaining and wide spread. Further, it will provide a strong, widespread network of embedment of S&T culture in the rural area.

One of such technology proposed by B.A.R.C. was the deployment of RO technology for pure drinking water and AKRUTI, Parivartan successfully worked on it.

Identification of Site for Establishing Water Treatment Unit

Based on the grassroot experience and baseline information available with AKRUTI Parivartan, Parivartan had finalized the hamlets having acute drinking water scarcity and accordingly mass meetings had been conducted in these villages to identify the possibilities and understand the community view in this regard. The selection was done primarily from coastal and creek area, Pharare village from Dapoli block was selected for trial demonstration of RO Plant.

Profile - Pharare Fisher Hamlet

Pharare fisher hamlet is located on the bank of Dabhol creek, in Dapoli block of Ratnagiri district which is a dwelling for 20 Households (250 population). Well is the drinking water source for this community. This well is measured 10ft in width & 15ft in depth and the water available is 8.5 ft. By the end of March, water becomes saline as the well is within the proximity of 400ft from Dabhol creek, due to which this water loses its significance for drinking or cooking purpose. 15 years back, the problem of salinity was not observed but in recent years due to soil erosion on the bank of creek and rise in high tide levels are leading to water salinity.

During the period of April to June, as drinking water problem becomes acute, these HHs have to spend about Rs. 180 per week to fetch the water from Parchuri village which is on the opposite bank of creek with the help of boat, available on rental basis. Similar situation for potable water can be observed along the coastal region of Konkan, which is terrible.

Installation of RO Plant

The meeting was arranged with community members to find out the feasibility of plant installation and the possible plan of action for installing RO Plant. They were requested to arrange for local permissions such as infrastructure like land, a shed for the plant and electricity as well as maintenance of the plant after installation.

RO plant installation was successfully completed on 21st May 2011. Being a pilot project we faced a lot of problems during installations but they were duly resolved. Now the plant is fully functional and supplying 300 liters of potable water per hour which is sufficient for entire hamlet.

Community Satisfaction

Successful implementation of this activity has not only sufficed community requirement of potable water but also have prevented the potential migration. This model can be replicated in various locations, where salination of drinking water source is critical.

RO plant installation was an initiative of technology transfer but for the Pharare fisher hamlet it was like a boon which has relieved them from the misery of unavailability of drinking water. The community inaugurated the plant with sheer ecstasy. Community members especially women were overwhelmed and couldn't stop tears of joy with a hope that now their children would not hesitate to come to them!