Varuna is a water monitoring platform that allows users to manage and optimize their water systems.
Access to clean water is a fundamental human right as outlined by the United Nations. Water plays a critical role in human health and economic development. Without this resource, populations become more vulnerable to malnutrition, water-borne diseases, and death. Clean water is still a challenge for many communities globally, both in developing economies and even in our own backyards.
Over the past few years we’ve seen significant water availability issues in American municipalities like Flint Michigan, Jackson Mississippi, and now in Arizona and Nevada where aquifers are dwindling. The lack of access to clean water can lead to a variety of social and economic consequences, including limited educational and employment opportunities, gender inequality, and decreased agricultural productivity. Furthermore, marginalized communities, such as those living in poverty or in remote areas, are often disproportionately affected by water scarcity and pollution.
In many cities across the globe, aging water infrastructure is contributing to issue. Old pipes and systems have been managed reactively, rather than proactively, causing systems to lag further behind growing populations. Climate change is exacerbating the situation making water availability more erratic – causing droughts, flash flooding, and other issues. Across the United States, over 500 boil-water notices are sent out per day.
Municipal water systems are stretched to manage these challenges, especially as fewer skilled labor is available and systems become more complex. A lack of visibility and proper monitoring tools contributes to massive resource and economic loss, through the wasting of water and other resources. Currently, if a system experiences an issue, technicians go into the field and constantly collect and test samples until water systems can return to normal. This is an extremely manual process and not sustainable long-term.
Varuna is a water tech company that believes that clean water for all is essential. Varuna is a software as a service platform that provides data analytics, monitoring, and other powerful tools to help water systems proactively manage their assets. With Varuna’s technology, a digital “net” is placed over the water system to get a holistic view of operations. The company works with its customers to deploy sensors across the water system (in pipes, water stations, etc.) to increase visibility and capture insights into the system’s performance. A few examples of insights include:
● Water chemistry and health parameters
● Pump operations
● Water pressure
● Risk metrics
● and more.
Varuna combines this information into two dashboards where users can view and access all the data that pertains to their system in one place. From the online dashboards, users can address problems and proactively determine solutions/remediations suggested by the software.
Varuna offers insights for a variety of use cases. Technicians can use the platform to find issues in the water system and solve the problems in real time. System managers can also use the platform to determine the resources needed to continue to support the system, which is especially helpful when building budgets. Varuna can also proactively assess risks using predictive capabilities. For example, it can detect patterns in pump flow and water chemistry and alert users to potential problems. This allows users to take preventative measures and potentially avoid large disasters.
Varuna is currently working with a variety of cities to make their water systems more resilient. Municipal teams are made more efficient and able to overcome human capital gaps using the platform. Existing resources can do more as they are supported by technologies like sensors and real-time data analytics. Ultimately, water systems can be more responsive to the needs of their communities, promoting equitable access to a fundamental resource. The company’s watertech innovation supports enduring access to clean water and will help our populations better adapt to a changing climate.
To learn more about Varuna, watch the Understory’s “Startups Driving Sustainability” March Showcase.
 Varuna, 2022. https://varuna.city/
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