Anil Sethi: Championing Smart Pumping Systems: Essential Water Infrastructure

Anil Sethi
Anil Sethi

As a progressive human civilization, the real picture will be scarier than estimated if we envisage our future in absolute terms. As the Founder-Chairman of Pump Academy Private Limited, I, Anil Sethi, believe that I must make you aware of the reality and sincerely request that you please think about it.

The Reality

If the Earth could speak for itself, it would tell us that it is starving, suffocating and getting warmer daily. Natural resources like water, soil, minerals, air, environment and ecological habitats are all declining. Best practices, technological intervention, conservation and care for these resources are paramount so that all living things can benefit from them now and in the future.

The ever-increasing pollution and soil contamination has far-reaching consequences that can be catastrophic for water, air, habitations, and all living species. The food and water we need to survive is grown and drawn from the surface of the Earth. Our lives are intimately tied to the Earth’s resources, and anything that degrades, damages, or destroys it ultimately impacts human life and threatens our survival. 

The leading resource of the planet Earth and source of life to all living beings is water; it needs utmost attention for it to be preserved, kept clean and safe for consumption. People’s and nations’ social and economic growth depends on water availability. 

Globally, over two billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water at home. The latest data from WHO and UNICEF on access to clean water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene also reveal that eight out of ten people who lack basic drinking water services live in rural areas

In 2015, the world leaders committed to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal-6, which envisages creating facilities for safely managed water and sanitation for everyone by the year 2030. Clean water and sanitation are integral to achieving a safer world which was reinforced further by the coronavirus pandemic. Almost the halfway mark on the SDG-6 commitment, the target is tracked, and it found that the governments must work on average four times faster in the remaining half period to meet this goal on time.

Water is essential, not only for humans but also for the economy to prosper. The water sector in India is very important due to its large population and ambitious economic development needs. While the country’s population grows, water resources are depleting, making it scarce and leading to a looming water crisis. This alarming situation poses significant challenges to finding sustainable solutions to conserve and manage diminishing water supplies.

Among the key challenges India faces, the most significant is ensuring access to safe and clean drinking water for its large population. Proper management of wastewater is another pressing concern, including water quality issues, contamination from municipal and industrial wastewater discharge, agricultural run-off, and inadequate sanitation practices. Pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and pathogens pose health risks to the population. The scarce resource has put several regions in India under acute water stress; over 40 per cent of the total population is suffering. The unsustainable practices in the Indian agriculture sector are a major concern as it accounts for around 80 per cent of the total water withdrawals and usage. The water infrastructure is ageing, and in most places, it urgently needs repair and upgrades. The huge water loss of almost 50 per cent of the municipal water supplies is attributed to dilapidated infrastructure and distribution network. Another significant challenge is organizing massive financial investments in rebuilding and refurbishing water infrastructure, adopting technology and implementing best practices for developing resilient water management plans while mitigating climate change impacts.

Water is still treated as a free commodity in India, and sustainability plans are limited. We have taken water for granted for many years when it was abundant. But the scenario has changed entirely from abundance to extreme scarcity in the last few decades, and we are now facing a tough challenge in getting clean water to drink at many places in the country. 

Major cities face water stress and stare at the ‘day zero’ scenario. Many of us still do not think about how much of this finite resource we consume from the Earth’s resources and do not realize that clean water is a precious commodity.

Only we can find, and fortunately, we have found one of the many solutions.

The Concern

At Pump Academy Private Limited, we are very hopeful of strong growth in the Indian water market, given the high-quality technological solutions we provide to make the water pumping systems smart and responsive in line with the technological needs of this vital water infrastructure. We are increasing our footprints with water utilities and making significant contributions to solve the most pressing challenge of our time, water scarcity, by optimizing the pumping system and curbing substantial water losses.

The pumping station is a vital water supply infrastructure. It is critical to ensure continuous and reliable water supply to various destinations, such as households, industries, and agricultural fields. As urbanization and population growth continue to accelerate, water demand is escalating. As the infrastructure is ageing, optimization becomes essential to meet current and future water requirements while minimizing energy consumption and operational costs. Research conducted by MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute), Switzerland, reveals that pumping systems consume 20% of the world’s total energy. This poses a significant energy challenge and places a substantial financial burden on water utilities and industries.

The Solution

Pump Academy Private Limited has introduced a groundbreaking solution called iPUMPNET, which aims to revolutionize the operation and management of pumping stations. With a strong focus on encouraging innovation and harnessing the potential of digital technologies, the meticulously designed approach is set to significantly enhance efficiency and transform this landscape. The IoT-enabled iPUMPNET revolutionizes pumping station management by optimizing operations and improving energy efficiency, thus transforming ordinary pumps into smart and responsive units. This secure and centralized platform provides real-time monitoring of pumping stations’ operation through an intuitive dashboard accessible via the Internet and mobile applications.

The key benefits of implementing iPUMPNET in pumping stations:

  • It can improve operational efficiency by 35 per cent, reduce energy consumption by 40 per cent, reduce the life cycle cost (LCC) of pumping stations by 45 per cent, and extend the lifespan of pumping systems by 50 per cent.
  • It eliminates unscheduled breakdowns and maintenance.
  • It is estimated that almost Five GW of energy could be saved if iPUMPNET is implemented across all water pumping stations in India,
  • It results in a considerable reduction of carbon footprint, almost 06 million tonnes, if implemented across India, helping with environmental sustainability.
  • The return on investment for optimization will happen normally within a year.

The water industry in India has recognized the potential of digitalization and data-driven approaches as powerful tools to enhance water management practices and decision-making processes. Embracing these technologies offers measurable benefits, including improved efficiency, increased transparency, and better utilization of water resources.

Several water utilities in the country are implementing digital intervention in terms of smart metering, sensors to monitor water consumption, pressure, flow rate, etc. These smart devices provide accurate data, identify leaks, optimize pumping station functioning, improve distribution, and implement demand management strategies effectively. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies map and analyze water resources, including groundwater levels, surface water availability, and watershed systems. Data analytics and predictive modelling techniques are employed to analyze historical and real-time data to predict demand patterns, optimize water supply, and plan maintenance activities more efficiently. IoT devices are deployed to enable automated water infrastructure control and monitoring, as we are doing for the pumping station through the proprietary solution, iPUMPNET.

These technologies and other interventions empower water utilities with valuable insights, enabling them to make informed decisions and address water challenges more effectively, ultimately leading to a resilient and sustainable water future.

The Support

Among all the natural resources necessary for propelling life on Earth, water is the most important resource ensuring the survival of humans and the economy. The water infrastructure in India is huge, but most are legacy units built decades ago on conventional methods. The Govt. of India is committed to making clean water provisions for every household in the country and launched several initiatives, including the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, with a planned spending of 6.47 trillion rupees. Some other major water projects underway in India across various states and cities are National River Conservation Plan, the National Rural Drinking Water Programme, Atal Bhujal Yojana etc.

The optimization of the operational framework for urban water supply systems is a crucial yet complex task. It involves various aspects that must be carefully considered to ensure efficient and sustainable water management in urban areas.

The Challenge

One of the key challenges in optimizing the operational framework is balancing water supply and demand. This requires accurately assessing the water requirements of the urban population and developing strategies to meet those demands while minimizing wastage. The report by Niti Aayog suggests that India is already experiencing severe water scarcity, with over 600 million people, more than 40% of its current population, facing extreme issues in accessing clean drinking water. The situation is further threatening, with World Bank estimating that by 2030 India’s water demand will outstrip supply by almost 50%, a significant challenge to arranging water for domestic, agricultural and commercial purposes. While planning to optimize, factors such as advancing population, urbanization trends, industrial growth, and changing consumption patterns must be considered to effectively manage water supply.

Another aspect to consider is the infrastructure and network management. This involves maintaining and upgrading the physical infrastructure of the water supply system, including pumping stations, pipeline networks, treatment plants, storage facilities, and distribution systems. Ageing water infrastructure in India presents significant challenges as many existing water supply systems have surpassed their intended lifespan. Most of our legacy water supply systems were designed to cater to smaller populations or less urbanized areas when constructed decades ago. As cities expanded and populations grew, these systems, mostly running on traditional methods, struggled to meet the increased demand for water, leading to inadequate capacity and service disruptions. These outdated and deteriorating water infrastructures adversely affect water supply, sanitation, and public health. Regular inspections, maintenance, and timely repairs have become necessary activities to prevent leaks, breakages, and system failures, which can result in water loss and service disruptions.

Optimizing the operational framework requires implementing advanced technologies and smart solutions. This includes using real-time monitoring systems, data analytics, and automation, reducing energy costs to improve the efficiency of the water distribution network, detecting anomalies, and enabling proactive decision-making.

The Promise

Pumping systems are crucial in various sectors and industries, including agriculture, industrial processes, and public water supply and sanitation. They are integral to the smooth functioning and efficiency of operations in these sectors:

Municipal Water Supply and Wastewater Management: Pumping systems are critical for water supply and wastewater management services. They facilitate the distribution of treated water from water treatment plants to residential, commercial, and public areas while also getting raw water from the source to the treatment plants. It is used to transport used water from homes, businesses, and industries to wastewater treatment plants for proper treatment and disposal back to water bodies.

Agricultural Water Management: In agriculture, pumping systems are used for irrigation. They help draw water from rivers, lakes, wells, reservoirs or underground sources and distribute it to crops through an irrigation network. Properly designed and operated pumping systems ensure water reaches the fields at the right pressure and volume, promoting efficient water use and maximizing crop productivity.

Industrial Processes: Industries across various sectors rely on pumping systems for various applications. For example, in the power sector, pumps circulate cooling water in thermal power plants. In the chemical industry, pumps transfer fluids in manufacturing processes. Similarly, textiles, mining, and oil and gas sectors utilize pumping systems for various purposes, including fluid transfer, filtration, and pressure boosting.

Pressure and Filtration Improvement: Pumping systems often increase water pressure in distribution networks, ensuring adequate supply to consumers at different locations and elevations. They also play a vital role in filtration processes by driving water through filtration systems, removing impurities and ensuring the delivery of clean and safe water to the designated places.

Pump Optimization 

Pumping system optimization is essential to optimizing the operational framework for urban water supply systems. Pumping stations play a critical role in the water supply system, from its source, such as reservoirs or treatment plants, to the distribution network and ultimately to end consumers. Optimizing pumping systems can result in significant benefits in terms of the longevity of pumps, energy efficiency, cost savings, operational effectiveness and overall system performance.

Our innovative solution iPUMPNET introduces cutting-edge technology to enhance energy efficiency and transform traditional pumps into smart, responsive devices. Among the projects undertaken by Pump Academy is the implementation of iPUMPNET for a large-scale project in Bengaluru, India. This project aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of pump station operations. By leveraging real-time monitoring capabilities and the intuitive dashboard interface, water utilities can enhance their decision-making processes, respond swiftly to any issues, and optimize energy consumption, thus reducing the cost of energy and increasing operational efficiency.


iPUMPNET transforms existing pumping systems into more efficient fluid management solutions suitable for various sectors. It offers several benefits, including:

Real-time Monitoring: Operators can monitor key parameters and performance metrics of pumping stations in real time, allowing them to promptly identify any abnormalities or inefficiencies to take swift remedial actions.

Energy Efficiency: By analyzing data and optimizing pump operations, iPUMPNET helps to minimize energy consumption by up to 40%.

Operational Effectiveness: It enhances pumping station operational efficiency by 35%, extends the life of pumping stations by up to 50%, and reduces operating costs significantly. It also helps reduce the life cycle cost (LCC) of pumping stations by 40%.

Predictive Maintenance: The system utilizes predictive analytics to detect potential failures or maintenance needs in advance, enabling proactive maintenance and minimizing downtime.

Intuitive Dashboard: The user-friendly dashboard interface provides a comprehensive view of the pumping station’s performance, allowing operators to access information easily and make data-driven decisions.

Remote Accessibility: The system can be accessed remotely through the Internet and mobile applications, providing convenience and flexibility for operators to monitor and manage pumping stations from anywhere.

Return on Investment: It effectively provides a return on investment within a year, making it a smart and cost-effective asset for water utilities and other pumping station owners.

Reduction in Carbon Footprint: It helps considerably reduce the pumping system’s carbon footprint and create a sustainable environment. Almost 5 GW of energy could be saved if iPUMPNET is implemented across all water pumping stations in India. As per a conservative calculation, a one MW reduction in energy consumption in the pumping station can save approximately 612 tonnes of Co2 emission per month, equivalent to planting 21,500 trees.

The Pledge

At COP26, India’s commitment to achieving Net-Zero Emissions by 2070 was a significant announcement. The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is a non-binding national plan that outlines India’s climate change mitigation strategies, including targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In August last year, our Hon’ble Prime Minister approved India’s updated NDC, which was communicated to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As per the updated NDC, India has committed to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, compared to the 2005 level. India aims to achieve a cumulative installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources, mainly renewable, in its electric power sector by 2030. This decision reflects India’s commitment to decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing carbon emissions, India can ensure cleaner air, water, and food for the current and future generations.

According to a report by MDPI, pumping systems consume approximately 20% of the world’s energy. The International Energy Agency estimates that the water sector’s electricity consumption worldwide accounts for 4% of the total global electricity consumption.

With our revolutionary iPUMPNET, we wish to help India achieve its goal ASAP and contribute extensively to reducing its carbon footprint in this decade only.

The Future

Pumping systems are essential in various sectors and industries, providing the necessary means to manage water supply, support industrial processes, and ensure efficient wastewater management. Pumping station optimization is crucial for achieving efficient and sustainable urban water supply systems. It helps conserve resources, reduce energy consumption and costs, improve system reliability, and minimize the environmental footprint of water utilities. By implementing appropriate technologies, maintenance practices, and operational strategies, water utilities can maximize the benefits of pumping system optimization and enhance the overall performance of their water supply systems.

By implementing iPUMPNET, Pump Academy Private Limited aims to enhance pumping station operations’ efficiency, reliability, and sustainability in water utilities. By integrating IoT technology and advanced monitoring capabilities, this pioneering solution can transform how pumping stations are managed, leading to improved performance, energy savings, better water resource management, and significantly reducing carbon footprints and global warming.

*Anil Sethi – A Nobleman on a Global Cause*

Mr. Anil Sethi, the Founder-Chairman of Pump Academy Private Limited, is a highly accomplished industry leader with over 45 years of diverse experience. His entrepreneurial acumen and strategic vision have made significant contributions to the industry.

Mr. Sethi brings extensive expertise in the water sector. He established the company with the vision of offering innovative solutions to water utilities, aiming to transform pumping stations into technologically advanced, automated, and responsive entities with robust processes.

Mr. Sethi’s remarkable contributions to nation-building initiatives have earned him widespread recognition, with numerous awards honouring his achievements in the industry. He has successfully transformed the organization into a unique solution provider by leveraging modern technology.

Related Posts