Non-drinking water filters: A growing category

97% of water consumed is for purposes other than drinking. Yet, little or no importance is given to the quality of this “non-drinking” water.

Water crisis is an on-going problem for most cities in India and around the world and is slated to get progressively worse. When availability is the critical problem, quality quite often becomes secondary.

97% of water consumed is for purposes other than drinking. Yet, little or no importance is given to the quality of this “non-drinking” water.

The average Indian metro household receives its water via metro pipelines and trucks that carry water that has often travelled hundreds of kilometers to reach you.

Their long journey from source - reservoirs or lakes fed by rain, rivers or rain water runoff - to Chlorine treatment plants - to tanker trucks and finally - to vast and old piping systems across cities and towns carries water that is often unclean and unsafe for daily use - for bathing, laundry and other household requirements.

Filled with hard water salts, sediments and impurities and chlorine, this water is not only hazardous to the health of our hair and skin but also causes havoc to the cleanliness of our homes and the longevity of our fittings and appliances. Limescale, yellow and white spotty stains, bad odour and bacteria build up are the side effects of poor quality water supply and delivery.

The question that arises is - Why is it that we give so much importance to the quality of water we put IN our bodies versus so little importance to the quality of water we put ON our bodies. Hard water & Chlorine are often the root cause of dermatological problems like dry skin, acne, allergies and hair loss - often written off as lifestyle problems. No number of products or medications is effective if the very water used to cleanse our bodies is full of elements that are hard and detrimental to our health.

Water treatment plants are becoming standard – but it is operationally challenging to have these performing optimally given the levels of contamination. WHO classifies anything above 1200 PPM as unacceptable for human use. 1500-PPM TDS is very common across cities in India, especially during summers, which is beyond the scope for most domestic filtration plants. Even new high-spec filtration plants - the time given for filtration is the main quality of filtration efficiency. For example: 2000 liters of 1000 ppm water requires 5 hours of time in the filtration vessel - but due to supply shortages, most apartments run out of water before the next tanker arrives - so waiting for 5 hours for effective water treatment is not an option.

Awareness of the need for safe water for personal home use is rising and so is the demand for affordable, in-house, easy-to-install point-of-use filters & water saving devices. Over 4 crore households in India use filters for drinking water, and that same number may soon be relevant for the “non-drinking water” filtration industry.

Five years ago concepts such as shower filters, tap filters, washing machine filters were unheard of. But today the “Non-Drinking” filter market is growing considerably with money spent on innovation in water filtration, water softening and water conservation solutions. Over the next 5 to 10 years, as water availability & quality gets more scarce, point-of-use filters & water saving devices will be as ubiquitous as a drinking water filter.

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