Reducing the risk of water contamination; a new water valve

water valve project



Faculty / Staff

Alexander Slocum

Performance-based contracts for water delivery are becoming more common in India. These contracts can specify penalties of up to 30% of the project’s revenue for missing pressure and quality targets. One of the reasons pressure and quality targets are hard to achieve is the widespread use of illegal booster pumps; these pumps can suck sewage into the water system and cause pump wars between neighbours which deflate system pressure. Making matters worse, the booster pump market in India is growing at 19% (5-yr CAGR).

In collaboration with public and private water utilities, the MIT Tata Center has developed a patent-pending safety valve that eliminates the problems associated with illegal booster pumps. To date, no one else has attempted to mitigate the problem of booster pumps with a technical solution. When installed by a utility at each customer connection, this $10 valve ends pump wars, prevents one source of contamination, and inflates system pressure by 15-25% – making quality and pressure targets easier to hit. In urban India, the total addressable market is $350M.

After field tests in Old, East, and South Delhi, the product’s performance has been proven at 19 houses. We are now negotiating with potential partners to conduct a demonstration project to prove the valve’s impact at scale.

Poster: Reducing the risk of water contamination; a new water valve