Providing Safe Water Affordably
WaterHealth India (WHIN), a wholly owned subsidiary of WaterHealth International, provides scalable, safe drinking water solutions to underserved areas in India through advanced technology and innovative business models. WHIN started operations in India in 2006 and has successfully launched over 500 WaterHealth Centres (WHCs) covering six states and serving over seven million people.
WaterHealth India (WHIN) provides safe, scalable and affordable drinking water to the underserved communities globally and currently runs over five hundred (500) decentralized Community Water Systems (CWS) across Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi and Tamil Nadu providing access to safe drinking water to over seven (7) million people since it started operations in 2006.
WaterHealth has adopted a decentralized model for serving communities that are severely impacted due to unsafe drinking water in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. The Company’s innovative strategy has been to install, operate and maintain “micro-utilities” called WaterHealth Centers (WHCs) in the underserved communities.
The WHC uses a six (6) stage purification process which ensures that all physical, chemical and microbiological contamination in the water is remediated to potable water quality. The water thus obtained complies with World Health Organization (WHO) and Indian drinking water standards (IS10500) and is offered under the brand name of “dr. water”.
The unique advantage of WHCs is that these are easily scalable and can run for a sustained period of time i.e. 25-50 years and offer lowest capital cost per capita (under $2/person) compared to other safe drinking water options in the world. WaterHealth’s operating model addresses all the five (5) key sustainability dimensions namely financial, technical, institutional, social and environmental and thereby making the projects viable across all sustainability axes. Financial sustainability is ensured by charging a nominal user fees to consumers for providing clean and safe water. The user fee is affordable for even the lowest economic segments of the underserved communities.
WaterHealth has made significant partnerships with local government bodies such as Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Pallike (BBMP) where the Company is planning to install over 200 WHCs in each of the wards of the city of Bengaluru. WaterHealth has also tied up with the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) where the Company is setting up about 280 water dispensation points in the slums of the capital.
WHIN is also in advanced stage of discussion with Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Rajasthan to cover all urban underserved areas of the state. WaterHealth has partnered with international development agencies such as USAID, RVO (Dutch Development Agency) and other prestigious Trusts, Foundations and Corporates to provide safe and affordable drinking water to the underserved communities in India.
The Company also runs well conceived social marketing programs to change consumer behavior towards safe drinking water. These programs are customized to spread awareness about the health benefits of safe drinking water. The social awareness programs focus primarily on creating awareness among women and school children in order to bring about a positive behavioral transformation within the communities towards.
WaterHealth’s interventions are certified by Gold Standards (the first global standard that has certified the positive socio-economic impact of water projects) which validates that the Company is addressing various goals within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework.
There have been multiple researches conducted by third parties to determine the social and health impact of WHCs on the communities, some of which are listed below.
- Based on a comprehensive study conducted by IMRB engaged by IFC to understand the impact of WHCs in its areas of coverage, it is found that dr. water consumer households are approximately nine (9) times less likely to contract waterborne diseases compared to non-consumer households.
- Sambodhi, an accredited Market Research agency conducted a study in 2015 – 16 to measure the social, economic, health and environment impact of WaterHealth’s interventions in the communities in which the WHC is established. Some of the key findings of the research are indicated below.
- Around 85% of WHC consumers are BPL (Below the poverty line) thereby establishing that a WHC helps extend drinking water services to the most vulnerable households within communities. WHCs operates through a socially inclusive model reaching out to the economically poor and socially disadvantaged groups.
- Households consuming water from WHC report lesser incidence of illness vis a vis households consuming water from any other source. Households who do not consume water from WHC have 1.2 times higher risk of suffering from any illness. Children of households who do not consume water from WHC have higher risk of suffering from diarrhoea. Households drawing water from WHC also exhibit better knowledge, attitude and practices on WASH parameters and knowledge on diarrheal management.
- WHC helps households save time (reduce drudgery) thereby ensuring the time saved in fetching water is used for other productive activities. Women save time due to reduction in drudgery in fetching water are more likely to engage in economically productive activities. Research shows that households that consume water from a WHC can potentially save over INR 4,700 annually (around 2.5% of their annual income) due to reduction in medical expenditure, decrease in drudgery and increase in productivity. This amounts to an addition of 25 workdays per family per year. Other impacts on households consuming water from WHC include a significant reduction in absenteeism from school and reduction in work days lost due to illness.Sambodhi, an accredited Market Research agency conducted a study in 2015 – 16 to measure the social, economic, health and environment impact of WaterHealth’s interventions in the communities in which the WHC is established. Some of the key findings of the research are indicated below.
WaterHealth has the vision of becoming a global leader in providing scalable, safe and affordable water solutions to the underserved through innovative business models. In line with its vision, the Company is pursuing the audacious goal of serving 100 million customers by 2020.