Technology and business models that deliver drinking water to the last mile
Sarvajal is a company founded in 2008 by the Piramal Foundation that wants to help solve the issue of getting clean water to rural Indian communities through their distributed water delivery and filtration systems.
Utilizing a combination of sensors, cellular connectivity, and solar power the company has created a network of "Water ATMs". The system uses reverse osmosis and ultraviolet rays to clean the water on site and enables customers to purchase only the amount of water that they need at that moment down to very small quantities. Sarvajal manages the initial water delivery and operating of the equipment itself while the local franchise owners pay an upfront fee to then receive a 40/60 cut of every sale.
Remote monitoring and water tracking systems give the company real time information about the current water quality, how much water is being sold, and maintenance and supply details of the machines. This data is tracked and shared between the systems to spread the most effective solutions to other micro-plants and also provide specific insight into each of the communities needs over time.
"Businesses are run differently in different parts of India. In the less industrialized Northern Gujarat, where disposable income is less but so are other daily costs, the major problem is to convince people to drink healthy water and referrals and word of mouth work wonders here. However in South Gujarat, the challenges are different, which include price control, and greater emphasis on maintenance since the raw water used in the machine are generally of a higher TDS value." Says Rishabh Kaul in his blog post analysing the franchise system.
According to the company more than 150 stations are currently deployed and have created 400+ jobs and served more than 200,000,000 litres of clean drinking water.