Water-from-air pioneer given global recognition

Image: Maithri Aquatech

The founder of an Indian company specialising in a device that can generate water from air has been recognised as a Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Pioneer for Water Stewardship.

Ramkrishna Mukkavilli, managing director of Maithri Aquatech, was recognised for his work building water security by installing the potable water producing devices across India and another 27 countries, spanning South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

"This recognition will empower my efforts in mitigating the water crisis across the planet, and I urge others to do the same."

Ramkrishna Mukkavilli, Maithri Aquatech

Mukkavilli's company created Meghdoot, a device that taps into humidity in the air around us, as a renewable water resource, in a process known as atmospheric water generation (AWG). Air contains six times as much freshwater as all the rivers on the planet and the word meghdoot derives from Sanskrit and means 'messenger from the clouds'.

With global fresh water scarcity becoming more urgent, there is a need for alternative and disruptive solutions such as Meghdoot to rapidly secure water access for communities across the world. The system can be powered with energy from the grid or via renewables such as solar.

Ramkrishna Mukkavilli with a Meghdoot atmospheric water generator.

Scientists estimate that 4 billion people already live in regions with severe fresh water shortages for at least one month each year. This number is predicted to rise to between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion by 2050. Reasons include climate change, polluted water supplies and increased demand due to both population growth and changes in usage behaviour.

To date, Maithri Aquatech has generated over 100 million litres of fresh water from air, and saved an estimated 200 million litres of crucial groundwater resources from exploitation.

Mukkavilli said, "This recognition will empower my efforts in mitigating the water crisis across the planet, and I urge others to do the same."

The UN Global Compact recently announced 10 new SDG Pioneers - business leaders judged to be doing an exceptional job to advance the 17 SDGs through implementation of UN principles on human rights, environment, labour and anti-corruption. The search focused on professionals who are working on climate mitigation and adaptation, circular economy initiatives, and digital transformation and Mukkavilli is the first from India.