Author: Hafsa Maan
Clean drinking water is a luxury in Pakistan; even if access to clean water exists, there is no guarantee that its supply will be adequate or that it will be easily accessible for citizens. In the rural areas of Pakistan, obtaining clean drinking water is a cumbersome and time consuming process. It often involves walking a great distance and waiting in long lines in front of a water filtration plant. Sometimes the long wait bears no fruit for a number of people because by the time it is their turn to fill up their containers, the filtration plant runs out of water supply due to misappropriation and careless use of water. People use clean drinking water for household purposes e.g. drinking, cleaning utensils, and washing clothes. Due to the limited capacity of filtration plants and excess usage of clean water, there exists more often than not a shortage of clean drinking water. The lack of rationing of clean drinking water, and its wastage at purification facilities, is quite abundant in Pakistan.
The inadequate supply of water ends up causing a chain reaction of interconnected problems; the villagers lose a sizeable chunk of their productive time while resorting to unsafe water sources for water. The shortage of clean drinking water results in an increase of water related diseases, increasing morbidity and mortality rates, besides posing a great threat to the growth and development of children.
To resolve this problem, the students of ITU have designed an ICT solution in their D-lab course. Aizaz Anwar, Amna Batool, Hafsa Arshed Usmani, Muhammad Shoaib and Sameea Ashraf worked under the mentorship of Dr. Kamran Shams, CEO PEEF. The research for WRIND was conducted primarily in Chungi Amar Sidhu, a disadvantaged suburb of Lahore. They have proposed that the situation at the filtration/purification facilities can be significantly resolved by curbing the wastage of clean drinking water. They created ‘WRIND’, which is a user friendly automated water dispensing machine installed over filtration plants. WRIND is the first prototype of ‘Automated Water Dispensing Machine’ whose main function is to control wastage of clean drinking by keeping a check on the usage of the water. The automated water dispensing machine is targeted towards low literate and low income people who face the water shortage problem at filtration plants. Wrind rations the water through a simple user authentication function and a water flow mechanism restricting the user to use designated amount of water.
The key features of WRIND are:
- User friendly simple interface: Interface of the machine is very user friendly. It hides technological details from the users and allows them to use it without confusion.
- Standalone machine: Wrind is a standalone smart machine which can be operated using SMS. It doesn’t require an internet connection.
- Simple Authentication System: It has a simple User authentication mechanism. Users are authenticated by tapping their RFID card over RFID reader.
- Easy Registration Process: Users can register themselves by providing their ID card to a designated shopkeeper or a filtration plant worker; the users receive a registration confirmation via SMS as soon as they get themselves registered.
- LED Lights and Audio messages: LED lights and audio messages guide the user to operate the machine.
It is too soon to say if WRIND can solve the water shortage problem completely but the team hopes that it will reduce filtered water wastage to impact community health. While the team is still working on making the product more sustainable and efficient, a basic model has been designed and will soon be deployed in areas like Chungi Amar Sidhu and Rajan Pur, Punjab.