Water, water, everywhere, Not a single drop to drink. — The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
These lines by Coleridge evoke a feeling of ‘nothingness’. While there is abundance all around there are many people who do not have access to clean water for fulfilling the basic human needs. And one of the most fundamental crises that affect the lives of many people in the developing world today is the water and sanitation crisis.
Lack of safe water and adequate sanitation is the world’s single largest cause of sickness. At any one time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water and sanitation- related diseases. In India alone around 0.2 million people are affected by the problem of drinking water. The problem ranges from microbiological contamination to chemical contamination like Arsenic and Fluoride.
Aquasafi Purification System Pvt. Ltd is a name of a passion. Inspired by the sustainable business model of Arvind Eye Hospital, Kevin Cluff started Aquasafi for meeting the needs of safe and clean drinking water. It provides clean water systems, training and services to undeserved communities in developing countries. Implemented in a few villages of Karnataka till now, Aquasafi provided the most underprivileged with safe drinking water through state-of-the-art water purification units. The self-sustainable business model, with seed investments from Deshpande Foundation and H2O for Humanity, also helped empowering the local communities by creating employment opportunities along with channels for micro entrepreneurship.
Aquasafi provide clean water to rural area in India
Affordability and collaboration are their key aspects. Customers pay a sum of $0.03 (approx. Rs. 2/-) for 20 liter of Aquasafi purified water as compared to cities, where customers pay $0.16 (approx. Rs. 10/-) for only 1 liter of purified bottled water. The outreach to the undeserved population is possible due to its partnership with the NGOs and the local Panchayats.
Aquasafi Executive Director, Pavin Pankajan, M.Tech (water resource)- IIT Bombay, MBA- XIM Bhubaneswar, has about seven years of experience in Rural Water Supply projects. According to him, “Technology-wise, the compactness of the whole plant makes it viable for the villages to adopt it with ease. The water systems are available in varying sizes and based on the community size and available electrical power AquaSafi™ Water Systems can be installed. AquaSafi-200™ unit typically purifies 1300 Liters of water per hour. Employees hired from the community are trained to operate and perform daily maintenance on the system. The footprint is less than 250 cm2 making it easy to transport and install.”
Aquasafi Water RO Plant
Currently they are running 60 water stores in the state of Karnataka, India through which Aquasafi is catering clean drinking water to a population of about 65,000. The consumers through the initial survey reported that the children have developed better immunity to water borne diseases leading to a rise in daily school attendance. The observations also suggested a reduction in the case of joint pains and muscle cramps of the people in fluoride affected regions.
With the goal of scalability, the organization intends to put 250 plants in the year 2014–15. At present Aquasafi faces a challenge in raising capital for improving the current product. Running the machinery on solar panel, developing remote monitoring system for better maintenance of plant and developing cheap automatic dispensing system to allow customers access at all times are some of Aquasafi’s goals. But to meet these goals, passion alone may not suffice; what is required is awareness and synergy. By conducting awareness campaigns in and around the communities, Aquasafi builds a channel of customer base; better connections and rapport which in turn help make the model more sustainable and effective.
Aquasafi Water Store
Water is the driving force of nature. Walking miles to fetch clean and safe drinking water is unthinkable for many of us. A social venture such as Aquasafi’s is a service to the mankind. The goal of any and every Social Entrepreneur is to service some of the most disadvantageous sections of the society. Through this enterprise, Aquasafi makes good health and wellness accessible to all people.
The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. The first step has been taken. The consumers of Aquasafi seemed overwhelmed by the taste of this “Sweet water” that they had never tasted before; but there are many million lives, many more villages that need their thirsts to be quenched. But now it is time we all develop that sense of urgency and accelerate our reform attempts. Think scale! Think outreach! Think greater impact! And at last think big!