Your Friendly Neighbourhood Waterman

The prospect of saving 10 lakh litres of water annually for my school was motivation enough for me. And this is how my initiative ‘Why Waste’ was born.

After a thorough research of re-usage of RO waste water and the myths of dangerous TDS levels, I made a workable plan and started reusing my school’s waste RO water for groundwater replenishment, horticulture, fire hose tank recharging, washing buses and utensils and mopping. Along with this, I also researched and explored other water conservation methods such as tap aerators and waterless urinals.

Propelled by the success of these efforts I expanded ‘Why Waste’ (https://why-waste.wixsite.com/website), my water reusing initiative. I began to demonstrate and help implement these solutions in other schools, corporate offices and housing complexes across Delhi NCR.

In 11th grade, I was selected to attend Applied Science and Engineering at Yale University. Returning from Yale, I wanted to develop a tech-related solution for saving water. I created an Arduino-based Automated IoT solution for watering plants.

I used DHT22 temperature, humidity and soil-moisture sensors to read soil moisture and environmental parameters to determine optimal times for watering plants. I connected this with a water source and an electronically controlled pump and my automated plant watering device was ready. The sub Rs 1000 device eliminates supervision and determines optimal times for watering thus ensuring efficient water usage.

My initiative soon began to gather momentum, with several of my friends all across India, from Bangalore to Pune volunteering to expand Why Waste in their respective towns. I was also invited to address Heads of Schools from over 100 schools from across India at the Indian Principal’s Network’s Conference.

Since then, ‘Why Waste’ has rapidly manifested into a pan-India force for annually saving 50 million litres of precious water which would have been otherwise wasted with the initiative spread over 5000 patron-partner schools, offices, and residential complexes across 184 cities. Why Waste has received recognition from the NITI Aayog for these water-conservation efforts.

This year during COVID-19 lockdown, I co-founded QEasy, a mobile application for optimizing store queues to social distancing levels during COVID-19. QEasy was invited for incubation at NITI Aayog affiliated Atal Tinkering Lab where it received access to ₹25 lakhs in seed funding. It also won the 2nd prize at COVID Relief Organisation’s National-level business competition and placed in the top 50 in the hackCOVID All-India competition supported by IIM Bangalore and Member of Parliament (Bangalore South) Tejasvi Surya’s office.

I also co-founded and designed KICKIZER, a foot-operated “no-touch” hand sanitizer dispenser. We were able to sell KICKIZER to 20 schools, businesses and housing complexes. KICKIZER has recently achieved the milestone of being a profitable venture. KICKIZER has also received a letter of intent for acquisition from an established company’s COVID-Care segment.

Changing with the times, and finding an opportunity to bring change is what we have been taught since childhood but I am glad to have become your friendly neighbourhood waterman.

(Vikramaditya Singh studies in Class 12. He is a student of The Shriram Millennium School, Noida)

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