Bloomberg People ride a canoe past a shuttered ice-cream store in the district of Alappuzha. . Image Credit: Bloomberg

New Delhi: The flood waters are receding in Kerala. But among the several issues the state is facing, drinking water is one of the major crises.

However, Gujarat has come to Kerala’s rescue. Sensing the urgent demand of the flood affected people, a 40-feet long bus having on-board water purification system and the capacity to purify 3,000 litres of water per hour, is in Kerala to satiate the thirst of people of God’s own country.

Amitava Das, director at Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar in Gujarat, explained, “The CSMCRI, a laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), designed and developed this innovative water purification plant on wheels that is most suitable for mitigating acute drinking water problems during natural calamities.”

“The plant is appropriate to be deployed under societal mission projects and once again it is proving very useful. The power requirement for the operation of the plant to desalinate the water is derived from the engine of the bus, without any additional requirements. That’s because during calamity, grid power supply is often unavailable. As apart from the driver, at least four persons are required to handle its operations, a team was dispatched to Kerala few days ago,” the director added.

Since a large section of coastal and low lying regions of the state were entirely submerged, the flood water entered the wells, rendering them unsafe for drinking. Also, the extensive damage caused to most water treatment plants and electricity poles, has rendered the infrastructure in shambles.

Dr Sanjay Patil, a senior scientist at CSMCRI told Gulf News, “The indigenously developed bus works on the technology that can purify any kind of contaminated water including the silt-laden left by the floods, the brackish water along coastal areas and high TDS (total dissolved solids) water. It removes viruses and bacteria and makes it potable and fit for drinking through the RO (reverse osmosis) and ultra-filtration plant that it carries on-board.”

Patil, who is stationed at Parumala, a small village near Pannayannarkkav temple in Pathnamthitta Kadapara district, added, “The pumping station, which is the primary source of drinking water for thousands of people, has been in a mess. Our technology is making the water clean and pure and fit for consumption. The customised bus purifies more than 40,000 litres of drinking water per day and the water produced complies with WHO standards.”

Bus features

•The rooftop of the bus is fitted with renewable solar energy power panels. In the eventuality of the bus running out of diesel, the solar panels supplement power to the ultra-filtration plant.

•The bus, developed in 2008, was earlier deployed in West Bengal cyclone (2009), Odisha cyclone (2013), Himalayan tsunami in Uttarakhand (2013) and Latur, Maharashtra drought (2014).