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Predicting The Future Trends Of Water Purification Industry

Here are some of the key trends that will drive the water purification market in the years to come

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Water, something that makes up about 60 percent of the human body, is the quintessential air in our lives - whose significance is established, but hardly realised by us. However, the subject of contaminated water needs to be addressed, particularly when 80 percent of India's surface water is assessed to be polluted, thereby making water-borne diseases claim thousands of lives every year. Thankfully, the water purification industry is embattling this situation with an innovation-driven approach and has made considerable advance in the yesteryears. Let's have a look at what the industry has achieved so far and where it is headed towards.

A brief overview
Thanks to rampant industrialization as well as increasing urbanization, industrial waste and untreated sewerage has been continuously flowing into water bodies and increasing the number of cases related to water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, and jaundice. Water purifiers, today, are no longer a luxury limited to the affluent, but has become a veritable need for people across the socio-economic spectrum. This has also driven the growth of India's water purification market, which was pegged to be at $603 million in 2016 and has been projected to grow with a CAGR of 21 percent till 2026.

According to World Bank, the per capita renewable internal fresh water availability - with a global average of 5,917 cubic meters for all countries - in India is barely 1,118 cubic meters. This figure is further projected to fall with the constant urbanization that's taking place in our country. It has further highlighted the need for water purifiers in the current context, especially across urban regions, industrial areas, and rural geographies, all of which are more prone to water-related challenges.

Trends to look out for in water purification market of India:

Here are some of the key trends that will drive the water purification market in the years to come.

Point-of-use water dispensers: In the modern society, the day-to-day lifestyle necessitates people to travel across the length and breadth of their city. However, getting access to purified water is not possible in each and every location. Packaged drinking water, on the other hand, costs around 20 to 30 rupees per litre. This has increased the demand for point-of-use water dispensing machines in the market. We will see such coin-operated water dispensing machines and RFID-based water ATMs being increasingly deployed on a pan-India level, especially in urban geographies and tier II cities. IoT technology will help in increasing the visibility of these point-of-use machines and preventing service disruptions through their timely maintenance.

Domestic water bottles: Urban customers are continuing to do away with home-based water purification systems since they require considerable water and electricity, besides initial investment and constant servicing, for purification. Here, purified water bottles have emerged as an ideal alternative. The adoption of electrolyte-infused purified water bottles is on rise in India and will continue to grow as awareness about their advantages increases.

Decreasing cost through integration of technology: Water purification systems and plants, their deployment and transportation of purified water entails considerable capital input. As a result, this increases the cost that customers have to pay in order to get clean water. Businesses are now decreasing these installation and operational costs by leveraging disparate technologies to lower electrical requirement and enhance water purification process. Some businesses such as Swajal Waters are providing their customers mineral water cleansed with ultra-filtration and RO for as low as 50 paise per litre. Digitization has, moreover, augmented the consumer data and enabled businesses to actively identify the geolocation of their customers through smartphone-based applications. This information, as its direct result, helps them establish the most optimal supply chain route and decrease distribution related costs.

Entrepreneurship-driven approach: Job creation and economic distribution has become a pressing issue in India, as the urban growth story continues to give a sharp contrast to the tier II cities and rural areas. Substantial employment can be generated by deploying water purification solutions, both plants and point-of-use machines, while also allowing the locally-generated revenues to be absorbed by the local economy. Businesses are expected to follow this approach.

Water conservation: Water purification using reverse osmosis results in a wastage of about 80 percent of the water that has to be purified. Considerable advances have been made in this area, enabling cutting-edge solutions to decrease water rejection to as low as 50 percent. The ongoing indigenous research and development is now focussing on decreasing the water wastage to zero, while simultaneously eliminating the need of electricity in the process.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Dr Vibha Tripathi

The author is Founder & Managing Director, Swajal Water

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