International Centre for Clean Water

One day interactive session on redesigning domestic reverse osmosis (RO) water purification systems


theme: Threshold needs for RO, enhancing outputs and reject water management

November 29, 2019

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Speakers: 
Mr. Varun Gupta, Director, KENT RO Systems Ltd.

Dr. S. K. Sankar, Head – R&D, Eureka Forbes Ltd.

Dr. V. Murugan, BARC, Kalpakkam

Mr. Ajay Sharma, CEO, Innodi

Mr. Kalyan Ram, Deputy General Manager – R&D, Thermax

Mr. Parthasarathy, LG Electronics, Head, Water Purifier R&D LG Soft India Ltd.

Moderator: Mr Sripati Cowlagi

Panel Chair: Professor T. Pradeep, IITM, Mr. E. Nandakumar, CEO, ICCW, and Mr. Sripati Cowlagi, Expert Engineer, ICCW

Group discussion moderator: Dr. T. N. V. V. Rao, Advisor, ICCW, and
Mr. Varun Gupta, Director, KENT RO Systems Ltd.

Venue: ‘E’ Block, Ground floor, Auditorium, IITM Research Park

A one of its kind, interactive session on redesigning RO domestic water purification systems was convened by the International Center for Clean Water (ICCW, an IITM initiative), on November 29, 2019, at the IITM Research Park. It was special because various stakeholders, who can 1) influence the way RO purified water is perceived by the society and 2) redesign the standards and technology, were present to debate, inform and churn out possible solutions towards RO reject wastewater management.

Strong recommendations from public users and agriculture-based innovators were put across to the RO industry players – who were also undoubtedly committed to water conservation. Professionals or otherwise, all voiced their concern in unison for putting water sustainable practices in real life.

Mr. Varun Gupta, Director, Kent RO Systems Ltd, Mr. Kalyan Ram, Deputy General Manager – R&D, Thermax, Mr. Parthasarathy, Head, Water Purifier R&D LG Soft India Ltd. and Mr E Nandakumar, CEO, ICCW


As Mr. Varun Gupta, Director, KENT RO, pointed out, ‘Most of the people are conscious of the value of water and the importance to conserve it through various means; however, not many are committed to the act of doing it.’

We need to bridge the gap between consciousness and commitment – quickly and effectively. This is another aspect of addressing the RO reject water waste.

Dr S. K. Shankar, Head, R&D Eureka Forbes, shares his community experience in the threshold for drinking water purposes, where the taste is primarily the deciding factor, more than the quality and safety of the water provided. These emphases the need to educate, sensitize and mobilize the community in installing the need-specific RO purification system.

Dr S.K. Sankar, Head- R&D, Eureka Forbes Limited


Pros and cons of drinking water devoid of minerals, WHO recommendations and benefits of re-mineralization were addressed. While the opinions in the hall seemed biased, want of proof of the health indicators in such cases, especially in the Indian context, stood out.

Emerging water purification technologies such as sustainable nuclear power based desalination and capacitive de-ionisation (CDI) were also discussed, which are not competing in the RO water sector, but helping to improve the overall water footprint.

Technologies to enhance output and balance the recovery come at a high-cost impact. This directs the need for affordable and efficient solutions in this niche where RO water purification systems are unavoidable.

While RO reject water can be wisely managed by reuse for non-potable uses such as washing the cars, mopping floors, washing clothes, etc, the issue gets complicated when the feed water’s TDS is high such that the reject water TDS is also high leading to scaling problems. This high TDS (>2000 ppm) reject water can be used for flushing and be diluted along with rainwater or sewage water. Functional rainwater harvesting systems in place helps reduce the TDS of groundwater sources.

Professor T. Pradeep, Institute Professor, IITM & Professor-In-Charge, ICCW

“To understand this effort better, a dynamic water quality mapping at the primary source is essential. The importance of this could not be stressed enough and the time to initiate this effort can not be more appropriate,” said Professor T. Pradeep, Institute Professor, IITM and Professor-In-Charge, ICCW.

Dr. T. N. V. V. Rao, Consultant Advisor, ICCW


The overall session dedicated in these dialogues resulted in recommendations for redesigning RO water in the domestic set-up. ICCW proposes to bring about a compendium, covering the discussions, recommendations and possible solutions in the wake of RO reject water waste being a national concern. Providing clean drinking water is a first step in improving public health – it is aligned to ICCW’s mission. Promising research ideas and funding outcomes were major highlights at this session.

“For a head-start on the data library on water quality, our unique platform at ICCW is equipped to partner with other venturers,” says Mr E Nandakumar, CEO, ICCW.

Session members after the event