Manikanta Chavvakula, a second year undergraduate student from FLAME University, along with team members which include Hrishikesh Bhandari from IIT Madras, Satyam Prakash from IIT Madras, Sanket Marathe and Jay Aherkar, together known as Team ‘Saaf Water’ were awarded the global winners of IBM Call for Code Global Challenge 2021. A panel of some of the most eminent leaders in sustainability, business and technology, including former US President Bill Clinton, awarded Team Saaf Water the grand prize of $200,000. This is the first Indian team to ever win the title.
Dr. Dishan Kamdar, Vice-Chancellor, FLAME University, said, “At FLAME, we have always emphasized on not just academic learning, but also on understanding real-world problems, deconstructing them and finding innovative solutions to them. We are extremely proud of our student – Manikanta – and the team of Saaf Water on this achievement. I am confident that their success will encourage and pave the way for many more such efforts by our students to work on solving issues and contributing to the betterment of our country.”
Call for Code is a platform for developers to use their skills with cutting-edge technologies to drive a positive and lasting change across the world. Top solutions are further developed, incubated, and deployed as sustainable open source projects with support from partners like IBM and the Linux Foundation. Team Saaf Water will now receive support to launch this project from IBM, the United Nations, David Clark Cause, the Linux Foundation, and others partners of the Call for Code movement.
As approximately 50% of the world’s population is still dependent on groundwater, Team Saaf Water felt that there is a strict need for a system which regularly monitors and pre-warns about anomalies or degradations in groundwater. Saaf Water is an open-source AI-IoT platform which when installed will help in timely monitoring of groundwater and informs authorities as well as the community about water quality along with purification methods for consumption. It also predicts when the water quality will go bad and helps reduce dependency on manual test kits or lab tests for approximate assessment.
The Saaf Water project is a Wi-Fi and cellular-enabled device that can be mounted on many different types of pumps, which is outfitted with sensors that collect information such as total dissolved solids, turbidity, pH, electrical conductivity, and temperature. The device uploads collected data to software in the cloud that analyses it. When contamination is found, users receive text alerts, as the pump’s LED warning lights flick on.
The team will be now democratizing access to information about water quality in a way that can both help local agents ensure quality and inform the community at large when they’re at risk. The team aims to implement Saaf Water on the ground and benefit the masses. As Saaf Water is an Open Source Project, it makes it easy for developers to contribute to it and the team will now start a journey to make Saaf Water a global solution and make water quality information accessible and easy to understand for all, to prevent health illnesses due to water contamination.