How Microsoft is helping India clean up the Ganges river
Indian firm TechSpan is using the Microsoft IoT platform to monitor the quality of the water, among other parameters
Microsoft IoT solutions are helping the government of India to clean up the Ganges, which has been the holy river of India for centuries. Stretching nearly 1,600 miles, the Ganges is also an economic powerhouse and a vital lifeline for the country. The Ganges provides water to approximately 40% of India’s population in 11 states, serving an estimated 700 million people. It is also home to at least 150 species of animals and marine life, irrigates more than 140 million acres of arable land in the basin alone, and supports as much as 54% of India’s GDP.
However, the explosive growth of Indian cities and the increasing pollution has put this holy river in danger. The Ganges is currently polluted with all manner of contaminants — from plastic bottles to sewage to industrial waste and even human remains. Agricultural runoff is up as well, while more dams and an increasingly arid environment slow the river’s renewing flow of fresh water.
In an effort to change this worrying scenario, three years ago the Indian government created a new ministry with a charter to restore, manage and monitor the Ganges. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been tasked with the challenge of not only cleaning up the river, but also monitoring its water quality levels to enforce requirements for each Indian state along the waterway.
Microsoft highlighted that in order to combat pollution in the Ganges, the CPCB has turned to IoT. As part of its Digital India initiative, the government has been working with Indian company TechSpan Engineering to implement a monitoring system built on the Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform, using sensors provided by the Austrian firm s::can.
TechSpan’s EnLite water quality monitoring application and HydroQ+ portal were customized for this specific project, Microsoft said. Using cloud technologies, IoT and big data, the solution taps into the s::can sensors already in use by the CPCB to provide measurements across 17 parameters — from chloride and fluoride levels to temperature and color.
TechSpan is using Azure IoT capabilities such as Azure stream analytics, in conjunction with SQL Server, table/blog storage integration and more.
The solution now includes 36 monitoring stations, spread across 2,500 kilometers and spanning four Indian states. Every 15 minutes, the stations send data to the Azure IoT hub capturing live water quality measurements. TechSpan aims to install a growing number of monitoring stations in new states in the short term.
The data is being used initially to enforce environmental policies that apply to Indian States with shores on the Ganges river.
Additionally, the Indian authorities are collecting a vast supply of data on pollution trends, sources, chemical compositions and more. Microsoft also highlighted that the Azure-based solution from TechSpan has been made available to s::can. The Austrian firm is beginning to offer the technology globally so other companies can benefit from the solution.