Narippaiyur, a village in Ramanathapuram District, a drought prone area situated in Tamil Nadu, India will benefit from 20,000 litres per day of fresh water produced from sea water. This has been possible due to the installation of solar thermal Forward Osmosis (FO) sea water desalination system installed in the place.

The customised demand driven convergent water solution through FO will supply two litres of good quality drinking water per person per day for 10,000 people in the village, successfully overcoming a major drinking water shortage in the village. The FO system facilitates high recovery, low energy consumption, potential for resource recovery, especially in solutions of high osmotic pressure, less fouling of the membrane because of low pressure operation, easier and more effective cleaning of the membrane, longer membrane life and lower operating costs.

The Water Technology Initiative, Department of Science & Technology (DST) has supported this field based effort in the district through the consortium members led by Indian Institute of Technology Madras, KGiSL Institute of Technology, Empereal KGDS Renewable Energy and ICT Mumbai.

The sea water FO technology operates at near 2 bar pressure unlike sea water reverse osmosis that operates at 50 bar pressure. It is versatile, has high energy efficiency and low operation and maintenance costs compared to other technologies.

The produced water will be supplied to the local people with the support of villagers and panchayat. This initiative of DST can pave way for scaling up the emerging technology in various coastal rural areas of India to address drinking water shortage.