15 August 2014

India update and new opportunities

AguaClara water treatment plant on top
 of a water storage tank in the village
of Ronhe, Jharkhand, India

The Cornell AguaClara program continues to grow into a global network with a vision for Safe Water on Tap for Communities Everywhere. 
In early July I visited the village of Ronhe in Jharkhand, India and their AguaClara water treatment plant with low flow stacked rapid sand filters (red/white/green columns in photo below) and chemical dosers. The facility is waiting for chemicals and then it will be fully operational. The system include a solar powered pump, an elevated storage tank with an AguaClara water treatment plant on top of the tank, and piped water to all of the households in the village.
On July 16, Ken Brown, Maysoon Sharif, and I met with Dr. Smita Misra in New Delhi, India. Dr. Misra is a senior economist at the World Bank and is the team leader for a $1 billion Rural Water Supply and Sanitation for low income states project that is underway in India. We presented the technologies we are showcasing in Jharkhand and in Honduras and discussed their applicability for scale up. Our new technologies for providing safe water on tap in villages generated a great deal of interest. We discussed system approaches to improving the performance of rural water supply systems. The World Bank project has $93 million dedicated for education and capacity building and Dr. Misra was enthusiastic about opportunities for collaborating.
Dhaval Mehta (Cornell '14) and
Maysoon Sharif (principal, 
AguaClara LLC) inside the Ronhe
AguaClara water treatment plant.
We met with Tata Water Mission in Mumbai and AguaClara LLC is exploring the possibility that Tata will fabricate our Low Flow Stacked Rapid Sand Filters for use in village water supply schemes.
We visited Somaiya Vidyavihar University and two of their village projects that were funded by the Girivanvasi Trust. We were hosted by Cornell alumnus and Indian industrialist and philanthropist Samir Somaiya ChE '90, MChE '92, MBA '93.  We are exploring opportunities for an ongoing collaboration between the AguaClara program at Cornell and Somaiya Vidyavihar University.
The Indian government has made providing piped water for villages a priority. AguaClara LLC plans to establish an India office in the coming months so that they can focus on the opportunities for scale up in India. AguaClara can provide expertise on how to make village water supply systems both high performing and sustainable. This is an amazing opportunity to improve the quality of life in rural India.
In the coming months I will be working with Ken Brown to assemble an AguaClara Advisory Council (AAC) that will oversee the combined AguaClara program at Cornell and AguaClara LLC. The AAC will extend our network for entry into additional countries and help establish an AguaClara Center at Cornell so that Cornell can expand its role as the global leader in safe drinking water supply.
A few weeks ago I learned that Professor Lion and I have received a National Science Foundation award for EXPERIMENTAL EVALUATION AND MODELING OF HYDRAULIC FLOCCULATION SYSTEMS UNDER CONDITIONS OF TURBULENT FLOW. This award will enable us to continue our research into the fundamental mechanisms of flocculation with the goal of improving the design of hydraulic flocculators. Our proposal is based on our new flocculation model that for the first time makes it possible to predict flocculator performance based on the physics of the process.
I am excited about the amazing opportunities for innovation, learning, and making the world a better place. At Cornell we develop new understandings of the fundamental mechanisms that underlie drinking water treatment. We change student lives with more than 500 students over the past decade having engaged in our innovation system. AguaClara LLC’s expanding role in the world will employ more Cornell graduates as they transfer knowledge generated at Cornell to local partners with the vision of providing safe water on tap for communities everywhere.


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