Imagine this: You just spent your hard earned money and purchased a new house. It has a small backyard to plant trees, satin finish tiles, walls painted in your favourite colours and a swanky kitchen.
But a few days later, washing clothes becomes hard as it requires more soap but using more soap leave a messy scum on the clothes that cannot be rinsed clean.
Meanwhile, your costly bathroom fittings and kitchenware appliances begin to turn black.
Your skin suddenly develops dryness causing an outbreak of acne. It leads to excess itching leaving the skin cracked.
Your first suspicion zeroes in on the water you receive. So, you obviously, you install an expensive water-purifying/softening device or boil large amounts of water before bathing.
The scenario that arises out of the usage of hard water is a widespread phenomenon in India. In fact, in 2018, 24 per cent of the areas in Bengaluru received hard water containing inorganic minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides and sulphates reported The Economic Times.
Having faced a similar situation, two childhood friends in Hyderabad installed water softeners in their respective homes.
Rajesh Saraf and Uday Nadiwade discontinued using the softener plants due to the high maintenance cost.
Speaking to The Better India, Rajesh says,
Hard water problem is a pressing problem in most parts of India, and unfortunately we end up using it as it is or pays for very costly devices. It was high time we addressed this problem.
When there is a shortage of fresh water, water is then drawn from bore wells. This hard water is often used as utility water for bathing and cleaning purposes.
Having worked in product development and sales and marketing industry respectively, Rajesh and Uday took the matters in their own hands and started researching on developing a low-cost and environment-friendly solution to the hard water problem.
It took them almost a year, but it was worth the hard work and wait, says Uday, “There are already ample of treatment plants available in the market, but we didn’t want to develop just another plant that would be expensive further aggravating people’s woes.”
Developing on their principles of ‘Better, Faster and Cheaper’, the two friends christened their product ‘BEFACH’. The product is for one-time use and doesn’t require any maintenance. As against the conventional plants that cost anything around 30,000, this device is priced at only Rs 3,600. The best part is that it can last for a year!
The device is ideal for household tanks with the annual consumption of 3 lakh litres of water.
How Does The Device Work
A regular water filter uses the traditional method of removing minerals like calcium and magnesium. The duo’s product, on the other hand, uses a food grade media or phosphates to remove the stickiness of calcium ions. This method breaks down the minerals ensuring that calcium does not stick to walls, buckets, or taps.
It is a hassle-free process as the installation doesn’t require any pipes, plumber or electricity.
All a user has to do is drop the bottle-shaped device in the water tank.
Explaining the benefits of the water softener, Rajesh says, “Besides being cost-effective, the device is also eco-friendly as there is no wastage and zero electricity consumed. In a conventional plant, around 20-30 per cent of the water is wasted in the softening process.”
The duo then launched their company, D’Cal, in July 2018.
The device is available on D’Cal’s website and other e-commerce platforms. The duo made sales close to one crore in the very first year of the launch. The highest demand was from states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat.
However, Rajesh and Uday do not measure their success on the economic profit. For them, the positive feedback from the consumers is enough to keep them going.
A customer can boil 1 litre of regular bore water and D’Cal water for 15 minutes. The difference will be crystal clear, says Rajesh.
Padmanabhan, one of their customers who had purchased the product in November 2018 says, “Very easy to use and is hassle-free. You need not run after plumber. The new technology is perfect.”
Among the short-term goals, the startup aims to multiply its sales this year 4-5 times.
Meanwhile, Uday and Rajesh are also working on filtered drinking water bottles. They aim to develop a nano-fibre technology which will be fitted inside the water bottle. The technology will filter any water, thus giving the consumer fresh water.
The idea behind this product is to provide consumers with an easy way to provide safe drinking water. Water can be filled from anywhere, and the filter will clean the water, says Uday.
This new filtered bottle is also expected to help people save money. The major cost of potable drinking water is logistics. This bottle will eliminate the logistics cost of water and reduce the cost of drinking water from Rs. 15/liter to less than 20paise /litre. The life of the filter bottle is expected to last for one year. So instead of buying bottled water, the consumers can use D’cal’s bottle.
They are also working on coming up with a synthetic powder for treating wastewater in hotels and restaurants. The powder will help reduce water wastage by 80-90 per cent. The filtered utility water can be reused for washing and cleaning purposes.
Featured Image Source: Flickr
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)