One of the posh residential complexes in Chennai, was facing the wrath of the city’s looming water crisis. Worried about the growing consumption needs of residents and declining water supply, the society’s welfare association approached a startup named WEGoT to mitigate the issue.
WEGoT provided an IoT-based solution, ‘WEGoT Aqua’, to track the water usage and installed their device. Five months later, the residents were surprised to learn their overall consumption was reduced by 49 per cent. From 234 litres of water, they were using just 119 litres.
They are now able to save a total of 4,80,000 litres of water every year, thus unburdening the water-strapped city.
“Our investment in the WEGoT aqua system was paid back by our water savings within five months of installation. The leakage alert feature is commendable and has helped reduce wastage of water. The system has made the residents water conscious,” says the Residential Association.
The startup, founded in 2015, has helped more than 30,000 homes in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and more, and 40 million squares of commercial space save water via their technologically advanced model.
The startup was founded by CEO Abhilash Haridass, CTO Vijay Krishna, Chief of Finance and Materials Mohideen Haja and Chief of IT and Analytics Sundeep Donthamshetty after witnessing the consequences of water problems first-hand.
“WEGoT aqua was innovated to reduce water consumption by bringing about a much-needed behavioural change in the way people use water. In a country like India where almost all big cities are water-starved, there is still no accountability for a consumer on their water usage. Growing up in Chennai and being a witness to acute water shortages, we wanted to contribute and help the city solve its water shortage issue,” Abhilash tells The Better India.
An Ultrasonic Water Meter
While Mohideen and Vijay worked on the product using their prior manufacturing experience, Sundeep, with his 15 years of experience in software engineering, built the cloud architecture and application to enable the IoT platform.
Meanwhile, Abilash banked on his wide industry network to spread awareness about the product and educate as many people as possible.
The founders had two main challenges — shifting people’s mindset from passive to actively saving water and building a system that offered more than the conventional water meters.
Abhilash, who holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York and has worked in Cisco in the US, notes that they focussed on fixing the gaps in the existing solutions.
“Traditional water meters are turbine-based solutions that cannot detect air passing through pipes and drop leakages. Our technology monitors instances of water theft and inlet water quality. We track water at all stages (source to consumption) and provide solutions for each specific problem,” he says.
The ultrasonic water meter by WEGoT is a simple plug and play model with tiny wireless sensors that can be fit easily into the water supply line.
The sensor is IoT-enabled, which means it transfers data usage to the company’s cloud-based server and intimates the house owner on the app. This further eliminates the need to check water meters manually.
The data reveals the quantity of water used, leakage while suggesting ways to save water. And in case of leakages, users can cut off the water supply via their phone.
“The software further tracks usage patterns, which helps the building owners know the water required to be stored in tanks. They also detect abnormal water usage and inefficient water infrastructure and inform users and facility managers in real-time. As part of the process, people become more accountable and decrease their consumption,” adds Sundeep.
While the sensors are installed for free, the users have to pay a monthly subscription fee, ranging between Rs 149 and Rs 349.
Saving Billions of Litres of Water
India being a land of diversified water resources, the founders have ensured that their device is adaptable and flexible to track the quality of water from tankers, borewells, pipes and even harvested rainwater. Through this quality check, users are made aware of their water being stolen too. The algorithm of sensors also recommends the amount of water that can be stored in overhead tanks, thus increasing the efficiency of water usage.
When all these factors come together, the founders claim it has helped reduce water consumption by 30 per cent and further reduce monthly maintenance costs up to 20 per cent.
“It also improves the shelf-life and efficiency of plumbing equipment, pipes and pumps and reduces electricity required to operate pumps and treatment plants. The amount of water saved is based on leakages detected and observation of a reduction in water consumption at any property after installing WEGoT aqua water management solution,” says Vijay.
WEGoT aims to scale its operations in the Western and Northern regions of India and eventually will make its way around the world. They claim to increase to 10 lakh devices in the next year.
You can reach WEGoT here
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)