Amazing! This Odisha rail station gets water from air to tackle drinking water woes

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: A railway station in a hilly, tribal-dominated area of Odisha is plucking water from the air to tackle its drinking water woes, an official of the East Coast Railway said today, stressing that it was the first such experiment in the rail network.

Because of the uneven terrain in Rauli, 460 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, the station authorities had found it difficult to ensure a regular supply of drinking water. Attempts to drill a tubewell at the station had not yielded any results, the official said.During an inspection in March this year, East Coast Railways General Manager Umesh Singh suggested the station try out a machine called the atmospheric moisture extractor to harvest water.

“An atmospheric moisture extractor draws air from the atmosphere and the air is passed over a condenser so that vapour is transformed into water due to heat exchange,” East Coast Railways (ECoR) Chief Public Relations Officer J P Mishra told PTI.

The machine was installed on April 25 at the station in Odisha’s Rayagada district on the Koraput-Rayagada single line. Three trains – the Hirakhand Express, Koraput-Sambalpur passenger and Visakhapatnam-Koraput passenger — stop there daily.

“We are seeing if we can replicate this in other stations. We are also willing to share our expertise with other government organisations for larger national interest,” Mishra said.

The machine, which works at low humidity levels of 50 per cent and an ambient temperature of 32-35 degrees Celsius, can harvest 120 litres of water a day.

“Now there is enough drinking water at the station,” Mishra said.

Before the machine was installed, Rauli Station had to depend on stream water which, the official said, was not fit for drinking.

The machine cost the ECoR around Rs 2 lakh and is the first such project in the railways. The station is located near Rauli village. The nearest town of Rayagada is 63 km away.