Piramal Sarvajal, seeded by Piramal Foundation in2008, is a mission driven social venture which plans and deploys innovativesolutions for creating affordable access of safe drinking water in underservedregions. “Sarvajal” in Sanskrit means water for all. Sarvajal is at the cuttingedge of creating technologies and business practices in safe drinking watersector that are intended to make a simple market-based model which is feasiblein both rural and urban conditions. The mission is to innovate, demonstrate, enable andpromote affordable and safe drinking water solutions.Piramal Sarvajal, which was started by Anand Shah, setsup community level arrangements that are operated locally but are centrallymanaged by market-based pay per use system. They work across 16 states inIndia- Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh,Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Bihar Jharkhand, Karnataka,Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Telangana and Odisha.
Howit all began and the technology used:97 million people living in India lack access tosafe 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 companywanted a financially viable and sustainable business model.Sarvajal started with door-to-door delivery of ROwater. This technique was not successful as people used to allot differentdelivery times which increased the manual labor.
Another problem with this wasdelayed payments. To solve these two problems, they came up with the idea ofwater ATMs and prepaid cards.V1 had a water tank locked above the machine.
Thewater tank was connected to the RO plant, which used groundwater. This plantprocessed 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 wastedbecause standard sizes of containers were unavailable. If the customer pressed5 liters button, and the container was 4.5 liters, 0.5 liters would go waste.There was a social problem as well. One big villagein Rajasthan has two to three smaller villages called Dhani. If one water ATMwas installed in one Dhani, the others would object.
The advanced model ofwater ATM took care of these two problems. The new model is strategicallyplaced so that it is easily accessible and is made simpler by providing justone button.Sarvajal’s water ATM is a low cost, solar-powered,self-contained water vending machine that stores clean water and can berefilled by the nearest franchisee. The company now has 154 franchisees and nowdelivers clean water to 100000 people.The operations of water ATMs are managed throughlocal partners.
This promotes local entrepreneurships.Sarvajal, for-profit social enterprise aims thatpeople should drink clean and safe drinking water than spending their income onmedical treatments.