Of the 325 million people living in rural Eastern India, an estimated 80% have no access to safe drinking water.
While there is a growing movement in India to provide clean water through community water systems, most companies require high capital costs ($10,000-$50,000) to build plants with larger delivery capacity (12,000-65,000 liters/day).
As a result, these kiosks must be located in villages and towns with a larger population to make the businesses viable. However, the majority of people in Eastern India live in small 200-300 household villages that are currently outside the reach of solutions like these.
Spring Health has designed a low-cost model to operate a chain of safe water kiosks in Orissa, a largely rural state in northeastern India.
Spring Health uses liquid chlorine to disinfect water at the point of distribution sell to rural consumers at affordable prices. The company uses a motorcycle-based distribution system to deliver liquid chlorine doses into cement water tanks constructed outside of existing retail shops in rural communities. Local shop owners pump water into the tank from shallow wells, sell the water in 10 liter branded containers, and share the revenue with Spring Health.
Spring Health is a subsidiary of Windhorse International, a US-based holding corporation founded by Paul Polak, a renowned social entrepreneur who has developed a number of innovative products for customers at the bottom of the pyramid.
Acumen Fund’s investment will help Spring Health scale up the pilot phase of its project, and prepare for market entry on a larger scale throughout India.
The company plans to provide safe drinking water to five million people through 10,000 village shops within three years, and to provide safe drinking water to more than 100 million people through shops in 400,000 villages around the world within ten years.
This investment will enable Acumen Fund to bring safe drinking water to poorer and more remote communities than it has reached before.