13 Indian states are currently officially suffering from drought. Many others are also on the verge of water scarcity. In an attempt to mend this, scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have worked out a way to purify sea water — and that too at an astonishing pace of 6.3 Mn litres a day.

The researchers have set up a pilot plant to desalinate sea water at Tamil Nadu’s Kalpakkam. This plant uses steam from a nuclear reactor to purify the seawater. It is then being supplied to the Kudankulam nuclear reactor to work as a heat exchanger and for other purposes. But this doesn’t mean that it’s not drinkable. According to the scientists, this water is as drinkable as it could be.

Apparently, this plant has a capacity of almost 6.3 million litres. This means it can desalinate 6.3 million liters of water every single day. Just imagine how much this could contribute to saving the drought-hit parts of the country!

In comparison, India’s largest desalination plant is the Minjur Desalination Plant near Chennai, which produces 36.5 million litres of water per year. This was also South Asia’s largest plant in this sector. There is another plant in the same city, on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Nemmeli that has a capacity to treat 100 million litres of seawater a day. These plants, though, are based on older and much less efficient techniques.

KN Vyas, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai said that many plants have been installed in Punjab, West Bengal and Rajasthan too.

The research center has also developed certain filtration methods that ensure groundwater containing impurities like arsenic and uranium are safe to drink.

Besides, BARC has developed several membranes, by which, at a very small cost, groundwater contaminated by uranium or arsenic can be purified and make fit for drinking,

Dr Vyas added.

These, along with small household purifiers developed by BARC are currently in use in several houses of drought-hit Marathwada.

Not only this, the research lab has also developed a water purifier bicycle, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pedalled during his recent visting to BARC. This bicycle basically turns dirty contaminated water into potable water.

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