Posted by: wfpdc | July 18, 2011

India: Bottled Water for the Poor

Adarsh Kumar, founder and chief executive of Livelihoods Equity Connect, explains the work of two water organizations to provide clean bottled water to poor communities in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, India.

India faces multiple sources of water contamination in rural areas including fluoride, iron, salt, arsenic, and bacteria. An estimated 59 million Indians live without access to reliably clean water and sanitation facilities. While government programs have devoted money and effort to this problem, a lack of monitoring and maintenance mean that many villages slip backwards and rejoin the statistic without clean water.

Two organizations, Water Health International and Sarvajal, have created small scale filtration plants that serve villages with bottled water for cheap. Water Health International, for example, provides a clean full 20 litre jerry can or water for 4 rupees and will deliver it to families’ doors for a few more. Water Health International reaches 1 million individuals, with Sarvajal close behind at 70,000. Both still plan to expand.

Links with local communities are crucial. Both organizations train local entrepreneurs to run the plants, provide education on the need for clean water before expanding into a community, and leverage funding from a variety of local sources so all feel a sense of ownership of the clean water.

Please read Adarsh Kumar’s  full article “India Journal: The Business of Low Cost Drinking Water” published through the Wall Street Journal here.

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