Limited access to safe drinking water is a major health and economic challenge throughout much of the world. In India alone, an estimated 163 million people lack access to clean water and contaminated water is a major cause of diarrheal illnesses, resulting in the deaths of 500 children under the age of five each day.
In addition to this massive health cost, water shortages pose a significant economic cost, particularly for women, who often spend so much time gathering water from distant sources that they are unable to earn income outside the home.
Solution and Impact
A $12.5 million loan is helping WaterHealth India install hundreds of decentralized plants that purify the water on site and sell it at a price that is three to four times lower than bottled water.
"Our goal is to show that this problem can be solved by a public-private partnership."
- WaterHealth CEO Sanjay Bhatnagar
These WaterHealth Vending Machines, or WVMs, are installed at highly trafficked locations like railway stations and shopping malls, where consumers can purchase up to five liters of purified water.
WaterHealth India is a subsidiary of WaterHealth International Inc. of Irvine, California, which developed the world’s lowest cost global operating platform for decentralized water purification plants.
The project will improve the health and quality of life for millions of Indians. Because women typically have the primary responsibility of obtaining water for the family, the project advances OPIC’s 2X Women’s Initiative.