The first Eco-Water installation in the Region
If generalized, more than 5.33 billion gallons of water everyday can no more be wasted in the Middle East, the sandy deserts would bloom with greenery
ECOLOGISTS are people who, concerned at man's relationship with his environment go beyond airing their concern. They take concrete steps to correct an imbalance or put right what is patently wrong. These descriptions fit well on the slender shoulders of Karen Pagarani, who has gone in for the first Eco-Water installation in Middle East region in her house. The simple system that is yielding bucketfulls of water every day shows up the enormity of water wastage being indulged in a water scarce land where the air conditioner is a ubiquitous gadget relied on for human comfort.
Eco-Water is nothing more than a system that channels condensation drain off from air-conditioning units on to a collection tank. Not only is the collected water pure and taste free, but its volume is so copious as to make every one in the coastal city sit up and do a serious re-think.
H. H. Shekh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Crown Prince of Dubai, Minister of Defense, listening to the explanation of Mr. Gulam Ali Sajanlal during Water Technology Exhbition held recently in the United Arab Emirates.
Karen Pagarani is only too eager to point out that it was not her idea. She just invited the man who had conceived it to put up the unit in her 4-bedroom villa . This was an opportunity that Gulam Ali Sajanlal the inveterate tinkerer had been waiting for, having demonstrated his concept through a model villa at many exhibitions in the country. Gulam Ali is known for the numerous eco-friendly gadgets made from material thrown away as scrap - fibre optic display panels, dust-free sawing machine, sound-activated detectors are just some of his previous inventions.
In developing the Eco-water system for the Pagarani villa, Gulam Ali roped in his two like minded friends, Suri Nambiar and Norman Sheppard. The three together designed the layout for the two-storey villa that meant connecting package A/C units to a drain pipe. The 20 tonne air-conditioning system is located on the rooftop from where chilled air is ducted into the house. The drain outlets of the package units were connected to a one inch PVC pipe that leads on to a water tank on the ground floor.
While the idea is simple, precise layout of the pipes ensuring the flow of water by gravity is key to its smooth operation. To ensure precise workmanship, the services of Belhasa Contracting, specialists in swimming pool construction were requisitioned. Working on the designs supplied by the Gulam Ali team, the entire system was laid out by Belhasa technicians in just one day. The total cost of the job that included cost of the 400-litre water tank and all the piping worked out to Dhs 2600.
Within a week of the system being installed, the drain tank was full. Karen now uses the water for the small garden around her house via a water hose. She also uses it to wash clothes in washing machine once every two days. This volume of water is coming out of the system when the Pagarani family is in the habit of using their air conditioners sparingly--in not more than two rooms at any one time. "Imagine the quantity of water when all the air-conditioners are running throughout the day. And considering that this is the output from a 20 tonne air-conditioning system, it would need a far bigger storage tank to take the output from larger units," Gulam Ali said.
He first employed the system his own house where he uses window air-conditioners. Collecting the drain from the A/C in a bucket placed outside, he has been watering the plants in his house. He was amazed to notice the rapid growth of a creeper using the A/C water. Karen has now plans of growing vegetables and generally expanding the greenery in her back yard, all without increasing her water bill. It used to average around Dh 500 a month which would definitely go down now.
Writing to Gulam Ali after a week of the system being installed, Karen observed: "It is very exciting to see your a/c water recycling project working just as you had predicted! In just five days since all the pipe work was completed, the 400 litre tank is completely full and the water collected is very clear and clean. I am using the water in the garden and also in the washing machine."
(L to R) S. Nambiar, Norman Sheppard, Gulam Ali Sajanlal and Karen Pagarani
Prem C. Upadhyay, a senior engineer and project manager has this to say of Eco-water: There are many systems in the market for conservation of the water resources, but the system designed by Gulam Ali Sajanlal and his team is unique in the following respect: First, it does not deplete any existing source of water i.e. under ground water etc. Second, it has no side effects on the ecological system of the earth, our planet i.e. Desalination plants, where the concentrated salts are thrown back into the sea, thus increasing the density of the sea water over a prolonged period. Third, it is simple and cost effective, in fact it is free.
The most important aspect is it's multifold advantages. It is not only generating water from waste, but also reduces the strain on the sewage system, helps in keeping the surroundings clean and reduces the water bill for the irrigation purpose. In the long run the additional water could be treated and bottled for drinking purpose.