Approximately 170 million people in India lack access to safe, clean drinking water. Families, especially women and girls, spend long hours collecting water from local sources, and end up with water that is unsafe for consumption. Water-borne diseases cost an annual $600 million in lost production and medical treatment.
WHI’s mission is to provide scalable, safe and affordable water solutions to the underserved through innovative business models. Its technology for purifying bacterial contamination in collected surface water was developed after a water-borne cholera epidemic in 1993 killed 10,000 people in just one month. WHI’s model incorporates the cost-effective technology designed for the poor with an effective approach to social marketing and distribution.
Each WHI system has the capacity to serve up to 5,000 people a day, though its modular design can be configured to serve communities of up to 10,000 people. Clean water is sold to customers for less than $.01 USD per liter. At some sites delivery is available.
Acumen’s initial investment in 2004 helped the company launch its first community water system in India. Now, WHI has 500 water systems, with over 500,000 low-income individuals who purchase safe water on a recurring basis. WHI is educating rural communities on the importance of safe drinking water through its “Dr. Water” brand and marketing. The company is also expanding operations in Asia and Africa.
In addition, WHI has helped catalyze an entire sector of enterprises that are delivering clean water in India. Community water providers have established approximately 700 systems serving another 500,000 people. And, outside of India, WHI’s innovative technology is being used in countries in West Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America.