Piramal purification technologies available but the company wanted

Piramal Sarvajal, seeded by Piramal Foundation in
2008, is a mission driven social venture which plans and deploys innovative
solutions for creating affordable access of safe drinking water in underserved
regions. “Sarvajal” in Sanskrit means water for all. Sarvajal is at the cutting
edge of creating technologies and business practices in safe drinking water
sector that are intended to make a simple market-based model which is feasible
in both rural and urban conditions.

The mission is to innovate, demonstrate, enable and
promote affordable and safe drinking water solutions.

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Piramal Sarvajal, which was started by Anand Shah, sets
up community level arrangements that are operated locally but are centrally
managed by market-based pay per use system. They work across 16 states in
India- Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh,
Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Bihar Jharkhand, Karnataka,
Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Telangana and Odisha.

How
it all began and the technology used:

97 million people living in India lack access to
safe drinking water and are at the risk of contracting water-borne diseases.
Developing a workable solution was not an easy task. Sarvajal faced various difficulties.
Although there was water purification technologies available but the company
wanted a financially viable and sustainable business model.

Sarvajal started with door-to-door delivery of RO
water. This technique was not successful as people used to allot different
delivery times which increased the manual labor. Another problem with this was
delayed payments. To solve these two problems, they came up with the idea of
water ATMs and prepaid cards.

V1 had a water tank locked above the machine. The
water tank was connected to the RO plant, which used groundwater. This plant
processed 1000 liters in an hour. V1 had three buttons: 1, 5 and 10 liters.
People would can their cards and get the required amount of water.

The problem with V1 was that water was wasted
because standard sizes of containers were unavailable. If the customer pressed
5 liters button, and the container was 4.5 liters, 0.5 liters would go waste.

There was a social problem as well. One big village
in Rajasthan has two to three smaller villages called Dhani. If one water ATM
was installed in one Dhani, the others would object. The advanced model of
water ATM took care of these two problems. The new model is strategically
placed so that it is easily accessible and is made simpler by providing just
one button.

Sarvajal’s water ATM is a low cost, solar-powered,
self-contained water vending machine that stores clean water and can be
refilled by the nearest franchisee. The company now has 154 franchisees and now
delivers clean water to 100000 people.

The operations of water ATMs are managed through
local partners. This promotes local entrepreneurships.

Sarvajal, for-profit social enterprise aims that
people should drink clean and safe drinking water than spending their income on
medical treatments.

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