Water has a number of sources, rivers, lakes, even ocean. Now, with the advancement of technology, it has yet another source, air. Yes, you read that right. Air contains a large amount of water vapour which can be tapped for drinking or other purposes. This is exactly what the Indian Railways are looking for to get water in humid regions that do not get enough rainfall during winter.
The devices, which convert the moisture in air to water, are called atmospheric water generators (AWG). In Indian Railways, they have been named as Meghdoot. Meghdoot will generate water from ambient air by condensation. They will be installed at water kiosks in platforms, from where passengers can get drinking water.
These devices will start operating hours after being switched on and will generate 1000 litres of water in a day. Also, these can work at a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions. The passengers can refill their bottle at Rs 5 for 300 ml refill, Rs 8 for 500 ml refill and Rs 12 for 1 litre. One can also get bottles for Rs 7 for 300 ml, Rs 12 for 500 ml and Rs 15 for a 1 litre bottle. The first railway station to get this device was Rauli in Odisha, way back in 2018.
In June this year, this initiative was recognised by the United Nations Global Compact as a Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Pioneer for Water Stewardship from India. Maithri Aquatech Pvt Ltd. has been awarded a contract for setting up 17 Meghdoot atmospheric water generator kiosks in the Mumbai Division of Central Railway under the ‘New, Innovative Non-Fare Revenue Ideas Scheme’ (NINFRIS) for five years, an official said. Each kiosk will get a license fee of 1.5 lakhs per annum.
These new methods of water generation will not only provide an alternative source of water in railway stations, but also will meet water requirements in water-scarce regions of India. Water scarcity is becoming a norm in today’s world in big cities and rainy regions as the potential sources of water are decreasing and population is increasing. To meet the necessary demands, Meghdoot is a great example of technology we look forward to in the near future.
Written by – Himadri Paul