Sunday, March 18, 2018

TDS and drinking water quality in Bangalore ..

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in drinking water is very crucial to keeping good health and healthy bones. We get our drinking water from many sources.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) are the total amount of mobile charged ions, including metals minerals or salts dissolved water, generally expressed in units of mg per unit volume of water (mg/L), also referred to as parts per million (ppm). -

Parts per million (ppm) and milligrams per litre (mg/l) mean the same as the density of potable water at NTP is 1000 kg/cu.m or 1 kg/litre...

As per WHO standards, our drinking water should have the following levels of TDS -
  • upto 300 mgpl or ppm is excellent.  
  • between 300 and 600 ppm is good. 
  • between 600 and 900 ppm is fair. 
  • between 900 - 1200 ppm is poor 
  • above 1200 ppm is unacceptable and dangerous to health.

Click here for a WHO document on the permissible levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in drinking water ..

In Bangalore we are dependent on Cauvery river for drinking water which has its origin in Talakkavery in Kodagu district at 1270 m above MSL. The Cauvery water is yet to reach major parts of Bangalore with the result that people have drilled borewells for water, both for drinking and washing and other purposes.

A TDS meter is a small electric contraption which I bought off Amazon, as an Amazon choice for less than Rs 500/-. It works on the electrical conductivity principle. Higher the TDS, more the dissolved solids, ions and conductivity and hence higher the current that passes. For industrial purposes, we need water with practically zero or near zero TDS. But for drinking purposes, we have water with varying degrees of TDS depending on the source from which we get it.

In the industry, when I was in the Utilities department in the MRF factory in Goa, we used to get upset when the TDS in the distilled and specially treated water used in the industrial process for generating steam, hot water etc used to go beyond even 10 ppm. More dissolved solids in the water in the form of ions, greater inefficiency of heat transfer as the pipes used to be clogged with scales.. 

I did a causal TDS checking of water in my house at 12 noon on 17 March 2018. I have water from three sources being used at home. One is from the river Cauvery (A), this Cauvery water is collected in  TATA Swach water filter which helps remove suspended solids (measured by Total Suspended solids) and is boiled for drinking water purposes (B) and the third source is the borewell water (C) used for washing, watering, bathing and cleaning purposes.

After collecting a couple of samples, took the measurement at least five to six times, and after some statistical analysis of data (through an interesting Android smartphone statistics app called SIGMA), got the following average values of TDS.

A - 213 mg/l  - Cauvery water was found to have TDS of 213 mg/l (ppm)
B - 210 mg/l  - Cauvery water after being filtered through a TATA SWATCH filter and
C - 405 mg/l  - Borewell water collected from a depth of about 300 ft.

At depths of 950 ft and 1500 ft in Electronic city area, the borewell water is found to have TDS of about 660 ppm.

Click here for a  Bangalore mirror report of the declining water quality in different parts of Bangalore.

Water is an essential input in our life and one of nature's most desired, available and needed resource after sunlight. Let us use it with great care and caution, so that our future generations too will get to use it at the same level at which we use it now.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Zero Mass - water harvesting from Air ..

With the recent revelation by an American media company and verified by WHO, that bottled water across the world have micro plastic particles in it ranging from 20 micro particles per litre to as much as 3000 micro particles per litre, the situation is really serious and needs urgent attention from water specialists and public health officials from around the world.

Can you use a solar panel in combination with material science technology to absorb water from air  ?

Well that is Prof. Cody's invention,  from Material Science Dept of Arizona State University.

He has developed this panel, named SOURCE,  that costs about $2000 and can harvest about 2-5 litres of water daily from air.

By using a combination of water absorbing chemicals that absorb water from the atmosphere and harvesting this water out of the chemicals and suitably mineralising it, Prof. Cody is able to bring potable water from thin air.

Click here for the news item from The Verge ..

Click here for the youtube video ..

Presently the panels are deployed in water starved areas in South America and Syria and in some affluent homes on an experimental basis..

This invention / innovation has the capability of solving the water crisis  of the world. If the technology is made more accessible for the people across the world and the technology is patented and handed over to innovators, we can definitely see great cost reduction and wide spread usage for this technology to solve the drinking water crisis of the world.

Some questions we look forward to getting answered  in the coming years or even months..
1. Can this technology be scaled up to extract thousands or millions of litres of water from moist air ? 
2. What will be the final cost per litre of water then ? 
3. Can suitable technology be developed across the world that can help generate even non-potable water in large volumes to meet the common needs of humans and industries ?
Lets hope the coming years will help see an end to the water crisis across the world.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Starling Murmurations ..

You will be amazed at how these Rosy Starlings murmurations happen in the evening sky ..
Rosy Starlings, lovely creatures ..
They are a group of migratory birds from Europe who come on an annual basis to perform this "dance sequence" at a place near Baramati in Maharashtra in the evening. Thousands come to watch this spectacular visual symphony in the sky !!!

These noisy Rosy starlings over Baramati sky, from Europe are extremely quick, agile with very fast response time .. Wonder how they communicate and prevent collision up there in the evening sky ...  Here is another NG video ..

Researching more, found that the Starlings Murmurations move in groups of virtual seven (the seven may change every now and then) following just these  three simple rules ..

1. as you fly, stay towards each other
2. when anyone turns, you also turn and
3. don't crowd, keep proper distance between neighbours .. 

This continuous decision making is done in millionths of a second creating the visual symphony in the evening sky ..

Wonderful isin't it ? 🙏🙏 Looks like they really enjoy straining their brains for hours together ..  

courtesy BBC .. 🙂


Saturday, March 10, 2018

TESLA and competitors in electric trucks ..

Electric energy based transportation gaining traction .... 

Can you imagine an electric truck
  • carrying a 26 T cargo
  • traveling at average 105 kmph
  • a full battery charge covering 805 km, (30 mins charge covering 630 kms), 
  • picking up from 0-97 kmph in 20 secs flat on full load (0-97 kmph in 5 secs under no-load) and 
  • running at 70% cheaper costs than comparable Diesel trucks  ??

Welcome TESLA semi-heavy duty electric truck on American roads by 2020 ... (other notable competitors with less capability in terms of distance covered in single charge and acceleration are  also given) ..

TESLA is already doing successful test runs between the TESLA Giga battery factory in Nevada desert and Tesla factory in California !! 👍

The competition from Thor trucks, (click here for the website) ET-1, which  can carry upto 40T load and travel 500 kms on a single charge is an excellent competitor to TESLA semi heavy truck. While TESLA will build the truck all by itself, Thor on the other hand has only proprietary battery technology. It will be outsourcing the manufacture of the trucks to other automobile manufacturers.

With the entry of electric trucks, the benefits are manifold :
1. lower transportation costs by upto 70%
2. ensure economy of costs due to large volumes being transported
3. ensure long life for the trucks with less moving parts
4. ensure low maintenance costs with less moving parts
5. ensure less environmental emissions, thus being environmentally sustainable
Thor ET-1
can totally change the logistics scenario across the world.

The transportation sector is getting excited and heated up with the entry of e-trucks and very soon in the next couple of years we can really look at more powerful and efficient vehicles in this area, with autonomous (driver-less) functionality, resulting in lowering of transportation costs by as much as 30-40% (conservative estimates) ..

Can terrestrial transportation with the entry of electric vehicle be much cheaper than sea-based transportation ? We have to wait and see.


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Ecommerce warehousing - what happens in the warehouse .. ..

We have heard that suppliers deliver articles at the warehouse and the e-commerce company sorts the items and arranges them on the shelves in the warehouse. Later these items are picked up for shipping as and when orders are placed.

But do we know how the quality of the items are assessed, how the items are coded and stocked, and retrieved manually from the racks ? Here we are able through these videos able to understand how manual picking happens in one of the country's largest warehouses of the e-commerce provider Snapdeal in Gurgaon, Haryana, near to Delhi. The operations at this 2 million sq ft warehouse of Vulcan Logistics working for Snapdeal are mainly manual.

Click here for a video of Vulcan logistics warehouse of Snapdeal, the ecommerce giant in Gurgaon ..

Another CNN IBM video of the Snapdeal warehouse at Gurgaon ..

Contrast this with Amazon warehouse at one of it largest facilities. Amazon, in adition also uses robot to move things in the warehouse. Click here to see how it happens ..

Basics of warehousing management ..

Modern challenges of warehousing ..Click here ..


Drinking water crisis in Bengaluru ..

Is Bangalore staring at a grave fresh drinking water crisis soon ?

Indicators of water pollution in Bangalore -

Salinity - more than acceptable limits of 3000 micro mhos/cm
Nitrate - more than the acceptable limits of 45 mg/litre
Flouride - more than acceptable limits of 1.5 mg/litre
Total Dissolved Solids -  660 parts per million (ppm) (acceptable limits 60 ppm)

High levels of nitrate and salinity in water cause depletion of Oxygen levels in human blood leading 
to cancer and the Blue baby syndrome (believed to be caused by nitrate contamination in 
groundwater resulting in decreased oxygen carrying capacity of haemoglobin in babies leading 
to death).

Groundwater Pollution

On a Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) study based on 3000 samples taken from  800 sq km 
area in Bangalore city, groundwater Pollution basically emanates from 2 sources.

Geogenic - deep borewell drilling (more than 1500 ft or 500m) brings groundwater rich in minerals
 and metals to the surface for human consumption, damaging human health, leading to  kidney 
damage, necessitating dialysis

Anthropogenic - (man made cuases) sewage water entering borewells going 1500 ft deep, polluting 
ground fresh water resources making ng it unfit for human consumption. It is pollution of ground 
water resources by unscientific handling of sewage.

Immediate damage to the population of Bengaluru

* Kidney-failure increased from 1 in 1 lakh to 1 in 500 related ailments

* Fluorosis affecting the gums and teeth besides triggering deposition of yellowish salts on teeth enamel.

* Contaminants get inside body through water and feeding on vegetables, fruits grown downstream of 
polluted water bodies.

A counter to the claim is published in the Newsminute website of 5 March 2018 .. 
Please read it here .. 

Good news keep coming as rays of hope for the city of Bangalore. Here is the story of how Hebbal 
lake has been rejuvenated and has been brought back to l;ife, bringing birds to the lake.

Reference :
    • Bangalore Mirror, TOI, 5 April, 2017.
    Click here for the link ..

    george ..

    Wednesday, March 07, 2018

    Why Bangalore is facing acute water crisis ?

    BBC shocked the world some months back releasing the list of cities that is going to face water shortage soon.  Cape Town is South Africa is facing an acute water crisis which is said to aggravate in April, leading to civil strife and even fight between communities for drinking water.

    The other day I was discussing the water issues of Bangalore with some of the younger members of the population and I was startled to see their awareness of the problem and some simple remedies which they suggested to solve it.

    The catchment area of Vrishbavathi river, which waters most of Bangalore before joining with Akravathi river, gets almost 5 million litres of waste water daily. Drinking water scarcity is the natural result of all this damage being done to our drinking water resources.

    The more important reasons for this threat on our drinking water resources pointed out by them were,

    1. Government inaction in responding to the civil needs of the public, corruption in such infrastructure projects and in laying of pipes and usage of inferior quality pipes, which ruptures during summer or on application of a heavy lead, further accentuating the problem.

    2. Unrestricted waste disposal : Industrial and domestic wastes being dumped into fresh water resources leads to poisoning of the existing water resources, thus making the resource unfit for human consumption

    3. Too much bore wells in the city : The water table in Bangalore is at an alarming depth of 950 m plus, ie. to arrive at water one has to give for as deep as a kilometer. The lowering of the water table has been accelerated by unrestricted borewell digging, licensed and unlicensed.

    4. Wanton filling of lakes : Bangalore was once upon a time full of lakes, but now the pressures of urbanisation and the greed of real estate dealers has resulted in many of these lakes being filled up giving way to newer and newer housing societies and residential apartments, in flagrant violation of housing and land development rules.

    5. Poor Rainwater harvesting : Bangalore does not have a strict rain water harvesting policy, even though of late the corporation has mandated that all new buildings and high rises should have rain water harvesting systems, the old buildings still do not collect the flowing rainwater and instead depend on corporation water for all daily needs including washing and toilet needs

    6. Improper or lack of proper waste water treatment plants : except for some residential properties that have excellent water water treatment plants, most of the residential buildings and industries in and around Bangalore, dump their unprocessed water into potable sources polluting the water and putting the population depending on that source at great risk.

    7. Badly maintained waste treatment plants : even the waste treatment plants which are working are badly maintained resulting in occasional release of waste water into potable water resources.

    8. Badly maintained piping system : the pipes in the city are not maintained properly resulting in occasional cracks, leakages resulting in huge well treated potable accounted water getting wasted.

    9. Mixing of drinking water with effluents : Most of the poor quality pipes that were installed have been damaged and they allow effluents and waste water running in parallel pipes or through the vicinity to mix causing untold health hazards

    10. Poor investment in public infrastructure - the poor investment in public infrastructure combined with the disease of corruption, leads to a society which has got no hope for the future.

    It is up to our young population to find out ways to come out of this problem and help the nation to go forward and prosper.


    TDS and drinking water quality in Bangalore ..

    Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in drinking water is very crucial to keeping good health and healthy bones. We get our drinking water from ma...

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