Sydney Water to deploy thousands more IoT sensors – Projects – Hardware – Networking- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sydney Water will deploy “thousands” of new internet of things sensors in the coming months, ramping up technology trials that have so far seen around 1500 sensors deployed into the field.
The utility has been running IoT technology trials since 2017, with a primary focus on detecting service faults before they can negatively impact customers.
“We are currently exploring applications, such as the detection of sewer blockages and overflows, monitoring of water pressure and digital metering of customer water usage and have identified many more potential use cases we will investigate in the future,” a Sydney Water spokesperson told iTnews.
“So far, we’ve deployed around 1500 IoT devices, including sewer level sensors in high-risk areas and digital flow meters on customer properties.
“The rollout shows some early benefits; for example, the system detected a number of blockages in sewers which our crews could clear before customers or the environment were impacted. 
“We plan to expand the IoT trial rapidly and roll out thousands more devices over the next [few] months.”
The spokesperson said the technology trials to date covered various low-power wireless networking technologies, as well as sensors, transmitters and IT platforms.
Part of its more recent work is in association with the Western Sydney Parkland Sensor Network project.
The sensing project has largely stayed out of the public spotlight but is part of the ambitious Western Sydney City Deal, which involves federal and state governments, and eight councils.
Sydney Water is supporting the Western Sydney Parkland Sensor Network project both with IoT expertise and low-power network equipment.
The utility’s spokesperson told iTnews that it “is providing each participating Council with a minimum of one LoRaWAN gateway.”
LoRAWAN stands for long range wide area network. The gateways being installed will join The Things Network (TTN) and are being installed “on Sydney Water or Council properties and offer both private and public LoRaWAN access.”
The Sydney Water properties hosting the wireless infrastructure are believed to include water reservoirs and towers.
Sydney Water’s spokesperson said the rapid expansion of IoT sensing capabilities would provide the organisation with data to aid decision-making and to progress more uses cases involving artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).
“The ability to capture more and higher frequency of data will drive predictive analytics and machine learning capability with the ultimate goal of delivering artificial intelligence to support operations decision-making and enabling cognitive automation,” its spokesperson said.
“This, along with data from SCADA, drone technologies, building information modelling (BIM), asset performance data and hydraulic models, will be utilised to deliver digital twins of assets, systems and cities that will transform the way that planners and operators of the future work in a modern utility.”
Digital twins are virtual representations of physical assets and can be used to run realistic scenario tests before making changes to production infrastructure.
“As the next step towards this goal, Sydney Water has just begun an expression of interest (EOI) process for a strategic partner in the area of AI/ML,” the spokesperson said.
The EOI notes that the utility hopes to combine real-time data flows with “a rich historical dataset gathered over more than 20 years, coupled with a wealth of internal subject matter expertise, to contribute to the desired outcome.”
It is hoping to find a third party to help it develop “water utility AI and ML models coupled with associated technologies to allow us to operate in a predictive and proactive manner.”
In addition, Sydney Water flagged broader use of AI/ML techniques in the organisation, which could be pursued in subsequent phases of work.
“Whilst the focus of this EOI aims to advance our recently implemented IoT pilot and will be primarily around customer focussed operations and maintenance efficiencies we are cognisant that there are significant opportunities for the application of AI/ML to other domains within the business such as planning, HR, safety and property,” Sydney Water said.
“It is envisaged that these opportunities would be explored as a second phase of the program.”

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Covid-19 Prevented In Korea By Oracle Water System- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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The ozone water produced by Oracle Water System was proved to be effective in preventing epidemics as it was used in Korea which is recognized as an exemplary country in addressing Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) drawing attention from the world.
In coping with the emergence of variants of harmful viruses, MAK developed Oracle Water System based on 11 related patents. Using plasma, Oracle Water System produces ‘Oracle Water’ by dissolving ozone in the nano-micro bubble in water with a dissolution rate of 70%, the highest rate in the world. ‘Oracle Water’ provides outstanding sterilizing effects while being eco-friendly as ozone is decomposed into oxygen molecules in water unlike chemical disinfectants, and it can be applied to wide areas.
“The most important step to stop spreading Coronavirus is the prevention of epidemics,” said Byung Joon Chun, President of MAK. “As it provides 6~7 times* stronger sterilizing power compared to other disinfectants, Oracle Water can rapidly prevent epidemics. And sterilization effect of Oracle Water was already recognized by removing anthrax bacteria and H1N1 viruses.”
‘Oracle Water’ was begun to be used as sterilizing water in Daegu, Korea and demonstrated the remarkable effect of preventing COVID-19. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city decreased from 390 on March 7 when the sterilizing water was begun to be used to 297 cases on March 8, 190 cases on March 9 and to 32 cases on March 17, showing a reduction by 91.7%.
Having concluded a contract with GW in China, a disinfection service company designated by Hangzhou city government, to supply 18 units of Oracle Water System, MAK is scheduled to ship the systems in April.
“We are frequently receiving inquiries from countries impacted by COVID-19. Together with employees, we are concentrating efforts on manufacturing Oracle Water Systems, day and night, to help countries getting over COVID-19 across the world,” added Byung Joon Chun.
MAK is a leading company that specializes in applying plasma technology. After having strived to develop plasma technologies since its establishment in 2004, the company leveraged these technologies for expanding businesses into diverse areas including ashing of semiconductor, bonding of LCD panels for displays and TVs, air cleaning at medical facilities, treatment and regeneration of skin, anti-aging and tooth whitening. It also boasts cutting-edge technological capabilities of fully providing plasma technologies to one of major mobile phone manufacturers for processing curved glasses used in flexible displays of such phones.
In particular, MAK first developed in the world the technology of generating plasma in CDA Chamber and supplies it to BOE in China. Having successfully developed USC technology for the third time in the world, the company is supplying it to BOE, Tianma, Jintuo, and Etmade in China and HIRATA in Japan. Possessing proprietary patent rights for vacuum plasma equipment for MLCC, the company is exclusively supplying the equipment to Samsung Electro-Mechanics, and it is working closely with multiple companies in Korea, including Samsung Electronics and LG Display. MAK owns a variety of product lines, including vacuum Descum equipment for wafer and plasma for processing curved touch screen panel (TSP) used for vehicles. The company is funneling research resources into nano textile equipment targeting the nano textile market and environment protection equipment to explore the wastewater treatment market.

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Holy water: ongoing targeted water-holing attack in Asia- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

On December 4, 2019, we discovered watering hole websites that were compromised to selectively trigger a drive-by download attack with fake Adobe Flash update warnings. This campaign has been active since at least May 2019, and targets an Asian religious and ethnic group.
The threat actor’s unsophisticated but creative toolset has been evolving a lot since the inception date, may still be in development, and leverages Sojson obfuscation, NSIS installer, Python, open-source code, GitHub distribution, Go language, as well as Google Drive-based C2 channels.
The threat actor’s operational target is not clear because, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to observe many live operations, and we couldn’t identify any overlap with known intrusion sets.
Thou shalt update plugins: attack synopsis
The watering holes have been set-up on websites that belong to personalities, public bodies, charities and organizations of the targeted group. At the time of writing, some of these websites (all hosted on the same server) are still compromised, and continue to direct selected visitors to malicious payloads:

Domain
Description

*****corps.org
Voluntary service program

*****ct.org
Religious personality’s charity

*****policy.net
Policy institute

*****che.com
Religious personality

*****parliament.org
Public body

*****ialwork.org
Charity

*****nature.net
Environmental conservation network

*****airtrade.com
Fair trade organization

Upon visiting one of the watering hole websites, a previously compromised but legitimately embedded resource will load a malicious JavaScript. It’s hosted by one of the water-holed websites, and gathers information on the visitor. An external server (see Fig. 1) then ascertains whether the visitor is a target.

Fig. 1. Target validation service request.

If the visitor is validated as a target, the first JavaScript stage will load a second one, which in turn will trigger the drive-by download attack, showing a fake update pop-up (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Warning generated by the second payload.

The visitor is then expected to fall into the update trap, and download a malicious installer package that will set up a backdoor.
For nothing is hidden that will not come to light: technical analysis
1st JavaScript stage
The first JavaScript stage is named (script|jquery)-css.js, and is obfuscated with the Chinese-language web service Sojson, version 4 (see Fig. 3).

Fig. 3. Sojson v4 JavaScript obfuscated one-liner.

The payload leverages the RTCPeerConnection API and ipify service to fingerprint visitors. The gathered data is sent to loginwebmailnic.dynssl[.]com through HTTP GET requests, in order to validate the visitor as a target:
https://loginwebmailnic.dynssl[.]com/all/content.php?jsoncallback=&lanip=&wanip=&urlpath=&_=
The JSON-formatted response, whose only key is “result”, can either be “t” or “f” (true or false). If the value is “f”, then nothing happens, while “t” will trigger the second JavaScript stage (see Fig. 4).

Fig. 4. First stage deobfuscated validation logic.

In a previous version of this first JavaScript script, an additional JavaScript payload was unconditionally loaded during the first stage, and proceeded with another branch of visitor validation and the second stage.
This other branch loaded scripts from root20system20macosxdriver.serveusers[.]com, and leveraged https://loginwebmailnic.dynssl[.]com/part/mac/contentmc.php URL to validate targets. The host and validation page names suggest this other branch may have been specifically targeting MacOS users, but we were unable to confirm this hypothesis.
2nd JavaScript stage
The second JavaScript stage is named (script|jquery)-file.js, and is obfuscated with Sojson version 5 (see Fig. 5).

Fig. 5. Nerve-breaking one-line obfuscation.

The payload leverages jquery.fileDownload to show a modal pop-up to the target. It offers visitors an update to Flash Player. No technical vulnerabilities are exploited: the threat actor relies on the target’s willingness to keep their system up to date. The deobfuscated JavaScript payload (see Fig. 6) reveals that the malicious update is hosted on GitHub.

Fig. 6. Malicious update source in second JavaScript payload.

GitHub FlashUpdate repository
The pop-up links to a PE executable hosted on github[.]com/AdobeFlash32/FlashUpdate. GitHub disabled this repository on February 14 after we reported it to them. However, the repository has been online for more than nine months, and thanks to GitHub’s commit history (see Fig. 7), we gained a unique insight into the attacker’s activity and tools.

Fig. 7. GitHub’s AdobeFlash32 commit history.

Four executables were hosted in AdobeFlash32/FlashUpdate on the last day it was still available:

An installer package, embedding a decoy legitimate Flash update and a stager.
Godlike12, a Go backdoor that implements a Google Drive based C2 channel.
Two versions of the open-source Stitch Python backdoor that the threat actor modified to add functionalities (persistence, auto-update, decoy download and execution).

Digging into the repository for older commits, we also discovered a previous fake update toolset: a C installer bundling the legitimate Flash installer and a vanilla Stitch backdoor, as well as a C++ infostealer that collects information about host computers (OS version, IP address, hostname) and sends them over HTTP/S.
Installer package

MD5
9A819F2CE060058745FF5374221ADA7C

Compilation date
2017-Jul-24 06:35:22

File type
PE32 executable (GUI) Intel 80386, for MS Windows, Nullsoft Installer self-extracting archive

File size
4420 KB

File names
flashplayer32ppi_xa_install.exe

This malicious update package is a NSIS installer version 3 that will drop and execute two other binaries:

FlashUpdate.exe, D59B35489CB88619415D175953CA5400, a legitimate Windows Flash Player installer from January 15 that is used as a decoy to trick the user into believing they actually set up a Flash update. As modern Adobe Flash installers ‘phone home’ to check for their own validity, this one will fail nowadays with a message stating that the installer is outdated or renamed, and will direct the user to the Adobe website.
Intelsyc.exe, the malicious payload (described below).

The installer is detected by Kaspersky endpoint protection heuristics as HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Tasker.gen.
Intelsyc Go stager

MD5
6DC5F8282DF76F4045F75FEA3277DF41

Compilation date
1970-Jan-01 00:00:00

File type
PE32 executable (GUI) Intel 80386 (stripped to external PDB), for MS Windows

File size
5976 KB

File names
flashplayer32ppi_xa_install.exe

C2 server
adobeflash31_install.ddns[.]info

User Agent
Go-http-client/1.1

The Go programmed Intelsyc implant is aimed at staging itself, downloading the Godlike12 backdoor (described below), and setting up persistence.
It will first retrieve /flash/sys.txt with HTTP GET on adobeflash31_install.ddns[.]info. The file contents may be used as a killswitch to stop any further deployment. If the content is “1” though, the implant will:

copy itself to C:/ProgramData/Intel/Intelsyc.exe;
establish persistence through schtasks [T1053] with a logon task named Intelsyc, run as system, and pointing to a previously created self copy;
download Godlike12 from github[.]com/AdobeFlash32/FlashUpdate, as C:ProgramDataAdobeflashdriver.exe;
establish Godlike12 persistence through a registry run key [T1060] named flashdriver in HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun, and pointing to a previously downloaded backdoor.

The stager is detected by Kaspersky endpoint protection heuristics as UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic, and may be misidentified as the GoRansom Go ransomware proof of concept by other endpoint protection products.
Source files paths in the code suggest this backdoor may have been developed on a Windows system.
Godlike12 Go backdoor

MD5
BEC4482890A89F0184B463C727709D53

Compilation date
1970-Jan-01 00:00:00

File type
PE32 executable (GUI) Intel 80386 (stripped to external PDB), for MS Windows

File size
4436 KB

File names
flashdriver.exe

C2 server
Google Drive

This implant is written in Go language, and its C2 channel relies on file exchanges with a Google Drive space, through Google Drive’s HTTPS API v3. The implant probably leverages the gdrive Go source from GitHub, as it shares several identical code source paths with it.
Godlike12 is the name the threat actor gave to the Google Drive space connections from this implant. Source file paths in the code suggest this backdoor may have been developed on a GNU/Linux system. The not-so-common (less than 100 results in a popular search engine) /root/gowork GOPATH that some of this backdoor’s modules have been compiled from seems popular in Chinese-speaking communities, and may originate from a Chinese-authored tutorial on Go language.
Godlike12 first proceeds with host fingerprinting upon startup (hostname, IP address, MAC address, Windows version, current time). The result is encrypted, base64-encoded, stored in a text file at %TEMP%/[ID]-lk.txt, and uploaded to the remote Google Drive. The implant then regularly checks for a remote [ID]-cs.txt, that contains encrypted commands to execute, and stores encrypted command results in %TEMP%/[ID]-rf.txt to later upload them to the same Google Drive space. ID is the MD5 hash of the base64-encoded MAC address of the first connected network adapter, while TripleDES in ECB mode is used as an encryption algorithm. It is worth mentioning that once again, the encryption function seems to have been inspired from existing open-source code, which mainly appears popular in Chinese-language forums.
Godlike12 does not implement a persistence mechanism, as it is provided by the previous installer package. It is detected by Kaspersky endpoint protection heuristics as HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic.
With this implant being a month old at the time of writing (while being in use since at least October 2019), and other malicious update implants having been used before, it is possible that Godlike12-based operations were still a work in progress when we investigated them.
Modified Stitch Python backdoor

MD5
EC993FF561CBC175953502452BFA554A

Compilation date
2008-Nov-10 09:40:35

File type
PE32 executable (DLL) (GUI) Intel 80386, for MS Windows

File size
7259 KB

File names
flashplayer32_xa_pp_install.exeflashplayer32pp_xa_install.exe

C2 server
system0_update04driver_roots.dynamic-dns[.]net:443

This implant is a modified version of the open-source Python backdoor called Stitch, packed as a standalone PE executable with Py2exe.
Threat actors wrapped Stitch with custom Python code to perform additional operations:

It downloads a legitimate Adobe Flash installation program from the C2 server at startup;
It auto-updates the backdoor from ubntrooters.serveuser[.]com at startup;
It ensures persistence through schtasks [T1053] with a logon task named AdobeUpdater pointing to C:ProgramDatapackageAdobeService.exe.

Under the hood, Stitch is a remote shell program that provides classic backdoor functionalities by establishing a direct socket connection, to exchange AES-encrypted data with the remote server.
Conclusion
With almost 10 compromised websites and dozens of implanted hosts (that we know of), the attackers have set up a sizable yet very targeted water-holing attack. The toolset that’s being used seems low-budget and not fully developed, but has been modified several times in a few months to leverage interesting features like Google Drive C2, and would be characteristic of a small, agile team.
We were unable to observe any live operations, but some tracks indicate that the Godlike12 backdoor is not widespread, and is probably used to conduct reconnaissance and data-exfiltration operations.
We were unable to correlate these attacks to any known APT groups.For more details and the latest information on this threat actor, please contact [email protected]
Appendix – IOCs
Infrastructure

Domain
IP address
Description

root20system20macosxdriver.serveusers[.]com
45.32.154[.]111
Watering hole targets validator server

loginwebmailnic.dynssl[.]com
207.148.117[.]159
Watering hole targets validator server

ubntrooters.serveuser[.]com
45.76.43[.]153
Stitch auto-update server

system0_update04driver_roots.dynamic-dns[.]net
95.179.171[.]173
Stitch C2

sys_andriod20_designer.dynamic-dns[.]net
45.63.114[.]152
Stitch C2

adobeflash31_install.ddns[.]info
95.179.171[.]173
Installer package C2

airjaldinet[.]ml
108.61.178[.]125
Older C++ validator C2

URLs
https://loginwebmailnic.dynssl[.]com/part/mac/contentmc.phphttps://loginwebmailnic.dynssl[.]com/all/content.phphttps://loginwebmailnic.dynssl[.]com/lh/content.phphttps://root20system20macosxdriver.serveusers[.]com/yW6jOyQM16rj.htmlhttps://root20system20macosxdriver.serveusers[.]com/itV6E1uKYiOo.htmlhttp://ubntrooters.serveuser[.]com/wuservice.exehttp://ubntrooters.serveuser[.]com/upgrade.exehttp://ubntrooters.serveuser[.]com/flashplayer_update.exehttp://adobeflash31_install.ddns[.]info/flash/sys.txthttps://github[.]com/AdobeFlash32/FlashUpdate/https://airjaldinet[.]ml/
Hashes (MD5)
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SA Water claims inaugural Benchmark Award for resilience – Projects- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

When it comes to critical infrastructure, few services are more important than the supply of water.
In South Australia, the government agency in charge of providing water services to 1.7 million customers recognised this threat, and decided to overhaul its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system used by SA Water to monitor and control the assets that provide water to customers’ taps, and for the safe transport and treatment sewage.
The resilient, cost effective system now allows the agency to monitor and control its water assets in any situation, be it a state-wide power interruption or targeted cyber-attack.
Under the new SCADA system, which is a central, virtual solution in a single secure data centre,a full system rollback can occur in hours instead of days.
In the event that equipment is unable to be centrally operated, such as due to a telecommunications failure, local workers at sites can re-take control using an emergency human-machine interface.
SA Water said the project aligned to the utility’s strategy of getting the basics right every time.
It also met other strategic objectives, showing it is ‘leading the way’ with new technologies and fresh approaches, and is ‘working together’ with ‘capable and committed teams’ to manage the change.
The new SCADA system is expected to provide benefits to SA Water for the next 15 years.
You can read more about SA Water’s work alongside the other winning projects and finalists here.
Winners were announced at the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020 gala dinner held at KPMG’s Sydney Office in Barangaroo.

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SA Water boosts resiliency of clean water, sewerage services – Hardware – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

SA Water has refreshed critical control systems attached to drinking water and sewerage infrastructure that services 1.7 million people.
The utility sought to improve resilience and lower the risk of service interruptions through an upgrade and centralisation of the critical Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) environment that supports its distributed operations.
The new system allows SA Water to “monitor, control, upgrade and support our critical infrastructure on demand, with minimal service interruptions, and in any situation, from isolated issues to a state-wide power interruption or targeted cyber attack.”
It also makes use of a new type of programmable logic controller (PLC) designed specifically for water treatment plants. 
“A well-designed and resilient solution ensures ongoing stability and delivery of essential water and sewerage services to our customers,” it said.
“Taking advantage of recent technological advancements, our fresh approach to SCADA saw the replacement of our decentralised platform (system infrastructure located around the state) to a central, virtual solution in one secure data centre.”
SA Water said its new approach to SCADA “vastly improves both physical and cyber security, as well as guaranteeing quicker operational support and disaster recovery.” 
“Our operations control centre is now able to take operational control of multiple sites within minutes, and cyber security techniques and patching are quicker and easier to manage,” it said. 
“System rollbacks can be implemented with immediate effect, and a full system recovery can now be achieved within hours instead of the previous four-to-five days.”
In the event that equipment is unable to be centrally operated, such as due to a telecommunications failure, local workers at sites can re-take control using an emergency human-machine interface.
SA Water said the project aligned to the utility’s strategy of getting the basics right every time. 
It also met other strategic objectives, showing it is ‘leading the way’ with new technologies and fresh approaches, and is ‘working together’ with ‘capable and committed teams’ to manage the change.
The new SCADA system is expected to provide benefits to SA Water for the next 15 years.
This project is a finalist in the Resilience category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020.

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Sarvajal ensures cloud, IoT enabled timely and quality water supply- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Anuj Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, Sarvajal
The availability of pure drinking water is a major challenge in India, especially in rural areas. Usually, when technology is associated with the water quality, it is construed as purification technology. On the other hand, Information Technology (IT) can also be a game changer. It has been proved by Piramal Water (Sarvajal), a social foundation of the Piramal Group working in the area of providing clean drinking water in the far flung areas of India. In a nutshell, the foundation has a setup of water purification machines across India. At times in the same premises or at a distance of few kilometres, the water is then transported to over 1700 water ATMs deployed by Sarvajal at various locations. The citizens can then fetch water using an ATM card, which can be used at any ATM operated by Sarvajal.
IT plays a multifaceted role and has an impact on the entire canvas of water delivery to the ATMs. “The role of IT begins with whether the water got produced or not on any given day. If yes, then how much? Followed by the water quality check done through sensors and finally, tracking the volume of water delivered to the ATMs,” explained Anuj Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, Sarvajal.
What Core Banking Solution (CBS) is to a bank, Sarvajal enterprise management system (SEMS) is to Sarvajal. It’s a central system to overview the purification and the dispatching system (ATMs). A platform solution with login controls. “We also work with state governments and they have also been provided with similar login controls, which help them track the data of the machines they own,” informs Sharma. It also includes the real time tracking data from the purification machines and the water dispensing ATMs. There is an embedded control unit in the water ATM and the purification system, which connects it with the cloud enabled backend system, which pools the water related data – transactions, quality, volume, etc.
Every purification touch point has five to nine sensors based on the purification technology being used. At times, there are technologies that sense the water pressure, while some technologies doesn’t require water pressure to be measured.
In a water ATM, there are four sensors, which includes, among other factors like water quality, volume and flow, tracking the charging of the solar panels, which power the ATMs. In the winter season in the hilly areas, when the sun light is scanty, the solar battery has to be charged and changed frequently. The sensors track the chargers and suggest the replenishment cycle.
The IoT enables in proactive and predictive maintenance of the purification machines and water ATMs. “It tracks water volume, quality and transactions which also means revenue tracking for us,” says Sharma. It leads to supply assurance and thus better customer relationship management. The water available in the ATM is checked using sensors and when it reaches the threshold, the cloud enabled system intimates the concerned person in the locality and the water delivery truck is delivered before the water runs out in the ATM.
This model has proved itself in a calamity based scenario in 2016 in Shimla. “The water grid got compromised and as a consequence, few people got hospitalised and there were people who lost their lives too. The then additional chief secretary interacted with me and asked for a solution. My recommendation was to send SMSes to the ATM card holders in that area, who were registered with Sarvajal, to inform their neighbours to use the Sarvajal ATMs for free (20 litres per family) for one month. This move got effected in just two hours sitting at the Ahmedabad control centre of Sarvajal. We submitted the water volume consumption logs and the state Government paid us for the water bills,” narrates Sharma.
Sarvajal has extrapolated this model for a water pipe model too. The foundation partnered with the Jal Shakti mission of the central Government to monitor IoT based water tracking mechanism at the village level on a pilot basis in Gujarat, Assam and Bihar.

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In the 1930s, which of these countries built an analog computer that ran on water? Trivia – Blog – 10 minute

While the first computers were mechanical and famously ran on vacuum tubes, there were other schools of thought that brought us a different kind of computer that ran on water. Built by Vladimir Lukyanov in 1936, the “Water Integrator” solved partial differential equations using a series of tanks, tubes and pumps to manipulate the flow of water. Lukyanov discovered that water flow is in many respects similar in its laws to the distribution of heat, thus by building a computer where the main component was water, he could visualize the invisible thermal process.
Solutions were found by giving a measurement of water in certain tubes (with precision to fractions of a millimeter). The device was originally created to solve problems with cracking concrete, but it went on to inspire systems using the same technology across fields including geology, metallurgy, thermal physics and rocket engineering.
A water integrator was used in the design of the Karakum Canal in the 1940s, and the construction of the Baikal–Amur Mainline in the 1970s. Water analog computers were used in the Soviet Union until the 1980s for large-scale modelling.
Today the Water Integrator can be viewed at Moscow’s Polytechnic Museum.
Image credit: Kramola

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Watergen’s new solar-powered ‘GENNY’ creates clean, drinkable water from the air – Blog – 10 minute

In context: If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to clean running water, there are a few things you can do to adapt and survive. Buying bottled water at the store in preparation for an emergency is an obvious option, but products like the LifeStraw (which can purify water from lakes, streams, ponds, and rivers) can work wonders, too.
Water tech company Watergen hopes to offer yet another (more expensive) solution with its latest announcement. At CES 2020, Watergen unveiled the solar-powered GENNY, a new version of its impressive moisture-based water provider.
The existing GENNY uses dehumidifier-like technology to suck moisture from the air and convert it into clean, cool, and drinkable water. It’s impressive technology, but it requires a wall outlet to function, as most other water coolers do.
The new GENNY, however, removes that requirement entirely, thanks to an array of four massive solar panels that ship with the product. Though it otherwise functions the same as existing GENNYs, the new version can power itself when setup outside — no plugs or plumbing needed.
“Offering all the same advantages as GENNY, it is ideally suited to use in remote locations, rural villages, parks and green residential premises, where the electricity supply is unreliable or unavailable,” Watergen says in a press release. “Solar GENNY is able to generate up to 3.5 gallons of water a day.”

See how Watergen’s technology works in this brief clip.
For reference, the standard GENNY can produce eight gallons of drinkable water per day, so the solar-powered version is a bit less powerful. However, as Watergen says, for remote locations or even simple city parks, the solar GENNY could still be invaluable — especially if there’s more than one around.
Obviously, the solar-powered GENNY is mostly useless for home or office use. Not only would you likely have access to reliable power in such locations (and thus not need a solar-powered alternative), but if the solar GENNY is inside, it can’t easily store power from the Sun. Further, you probably wouldn’t be able to fit the water generator’s required solar panels indoors anyway.
At any rate, the new GENNY is reportedly expected to cost between $5,000 and $8,000, with all expenses (including shipping and installation aid) accounted for. We don’t know when it will launch, but hopefully, we’ll find out soon.

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Water Detected on Planet Inside the Habitable Zone for the First Time


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The astronomers who comb through data on planetary surveys looking for potentially habitable planets are searching for worlds with certain specific characteristics. We assume that any planet capable of supporting life has to exist within the habitable zone (also sometimes called the “Goldilocks zone”) of its host star. Too close to the star and you bake, too far away and you’ll freeze. Liquid water is considered another key component required for life as we know it to exist. (Ammonia-based life has been theorized, but not yet demonstrated to be able to exist).

Astronomers now believe they’ve detected liquid water in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting within the habitable zone of its parent star. The planet, K2-18b (aka EPIC 201912552 b) orbits its red-dwarf star every 33 days. The red dwarf K2-18 is roughly 111 light-years from Earth and is ~2.7 percent as luminous as our own sun. The habitable zones of red dwarves are close to the star for this reason, and the authors note that the equilibrium temperature on K2-18b could be quite similar to Earth’s. The equilibrium temperature of a planet is the temperature it would have if it were a black body heated only by its star. The presence of an atmosphere and associated greenhouse effect means the actual temperature on the planet can be quite different from the equilibrium temperature.

HabitableZones

The habitable zone of certain planets, Earth, and Mars for reference. K2-18b not shown above.

What the scientists are saying with this measurement is that Earth and this other planet start in roughly the same place, as far as their respective equilibrium temperatures are concerned (Earth is 257K, this K2-18b is 265K +/- 5K). The total amount of solar irradiation that Earth and K2-18b receive is approximately equal. The paper, which has not been peer-reviewed, notes that K2-18b is the least-massive planet to ever be detected with water vapor in its atmosphere.

“The water vapor detection was quite clear to us relatively early on,” lead author Björn Benneke, a professor at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montréal, told Space.com in an interview. So he and his colleagues developed new analysis techniques to provide evidence that clouds made up of liquid water droplets likely exist on K2-18 b. “That’s in some ways the ‘holy grail’ of studying extrasolar planets … evidence of liquid water,” he said.

K2-12b probably isn’t habitable, at least not for humans. While the atmosphere contains water vapor, there’s evidence suggesting it’s quite thick, and that the planet may not have a surface in the first place.

While the study we’ve been discussing has not yet been peer-reviewed, Nature Astronomy has published the results of a different second study, which also confirms the presence of water vapor in K2-18b’s atmosphere. The lead scientist on the second study, Giovanna Tinetti, called these results “mind-blowing.”

“This is the first time that we have detected water on a planet in the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is potentially compatible with the presence of life,” she said.

We may not be flying off to explore K2-18b just yet — but now that we’ve found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting inside a red dwarf’s habitable zone, we’re one step closer to finding a world that can work for creatures like ourselves. The James Webb Space Telescope, when it finally comes online, should be well-suited for exploring exoplanets like these.

Feature image by the ESA / UCL. 

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Hubble spots liquid water on a ‘super-Earth’ 110 light-years away – gpgmail


Water is not uncommon to find in our galaxy in ice or gaseous form, but liquid water is quite rare — and liquid and gaseous water on an Earth-like exoplanet? That’s never been observed… until now. Astronomers spotted this celestial unicorn, called K2-18 b, using the venerable Hubble space telescope.

K2-18 b is a “super-Earth,” a planet with a mass and size approximately like our own. Not only that, it exists in its solar system’s “habitable zone,” meaning a range of temperatures where liquid water can continuously exist. It’s about 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo.

Of course there are many super-Earths, and many planets in habitable zones, and many planets with water — but they’re never one and the same. This is the first time we’ve found the trifecta.

Researchers used past Hubble data to examine the spectral signature of light shining from K2-18 b’s sun through its atmosphere. They found evidence of both liquid and gaseous water, suggesting a water cycle like our own: evaporation, condensation, and all that.

To be clear, this is not an indication of little green men or anything like that; K2-18 b’s red dwarf sun is absolutely bombarding it with radiation. “It is highly unlikely that this world is habitable in any way that we understand based on life as we know it,” the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Hannah Wakeford told Nature.

Too bad — but that wasn’t what scientists were hoping to find. The discovery of an Earth-like planet with an Earth-like water cycle in the habitable zone is amazing, especially considering the relatively small number of exoplanets that have been examined this way. The galaxy is full of them, after all, so finding one with these qualities suggests there are plenty more where K2-18 b came from.

This discovery is an interesting one in another fashion: It was done, like lots of others are these days, by performing after-the-fact analysis on publicly available data (from 2016 and 2017), and the analysis used open-source algorithms. Essentially both the data and the methods were out there in the open — though naturally it takes serious scientific effort to actually put them together.

Two papers were published on K2-18 b, one from the University of Montreal and one from University College London. The former appeared on preprint site Arxiv yesterday, and the other was published in the journal Nature Astronomy today.


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