Do we really require Sabse ‘Shuddh’ Paani?
For every one litre of purified water, three litres of water is getting wasted through Reverse Osmosis
Back story :
Mr. A is a healthcare practitioner. One day, his neighbor, Shiela aunty, came to him to flaunt her newly installed RO filter. She believed it was crucial to consume highly purified water in order to stay healthy.
When Mr. A asked her what was the TDS before and after the installation. She replied “TDS kya hai beta”
TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and is measured in PPM (particles per million). However, TDS alone does not represent the amount of impurities present in the water; important minerals like calcium and magnesium are also reflected in the PPM (particles per million).
The Problem :
The problem is that RO is not necessary for TDS < 500 ppm. If your source water TDS is less than 500 ppm, you do not need a filter with RO. Normal sediment filtration, carbon filtration, and UV/UF alone might be sufficient without RO. However, sales-focused companies use “RO” as their marketing buzzword to sell their products.
Consumers are unaware, so companies keep the TDS very low, stripping all minerals from the water. TDS is deliberately kept low to make the water taste sweeter.
I can’t emphasize enough how important minerals (electrolytes) are, as many chronic diseases can be cured simply by keeping the main electrolytes at an optimal level. Other than sodium, most of the Indians are chronically deficient in Mg, Ca & K.
A few years ago, the green tribunal gave directives to ban RO purifiers for <500 ppm (this was stayed by the Supreme Court due to policy issues). Companies cleverly introduced a TDS controller, but this controller doesn’t completely bypass the RO membrane. It is like a valve; you can only adjust the flow of water. So, even if it is released completely, water still partially flows through the RO membrane, discharging 3.25 times the input water.
WHO's recommended limits
The solution :
For the sake of comparison, Saving all the discarded RO water for three consecutive days by us Indians would be adequate to fulfill entire Africa’s daily requirement for drinking water.
We need to either remove the RO membrane where TDS is less than 300-500 or efficiently reuse the discharged water by using reject water tanks.
I will discuss a detailed solution soon. If planned correctly, this will be much more convenient for new constructions or high-rise buildings.
Part 2 of this write-up will be available in the future.