“Water is the driving force of all nature.”
- Leonardo Da Vinci
Chronic mismanagement of India’s water resources has made India one of the top 50 most water-stressed countries in the world. It is projected that by 2030, the country’s demand for this elixir will be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people. This is why the WASHE programme is our flagship community investment programme in India which provides access to water, sanitation facilities, and awareness through education to adolescent girls and disadvantaged communities at large.
The programme uses multiple conventional methods of water conversation such as rain water harvesting and explores innovative solutions to provide access to sanitation and secure water for future generations. However, to more effectively impact the lives of individuals living in drought-prone areas, we looked to technologically empowered projects that devise long-term solutions. For example, the use of the WATSCAN tool has been instrumental in devising water planning and assessment strategies. Using this tool, our WASHE WeSURE project (Water for Enabling Sustainable REforms) seeks to improve the availability of water in 4 drought-prone villages of the Paithan Taluka in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
We provide sustainable water solutions to those lacking access to safe drinking water through solar water ATMs in partnership with Piramal Sarvajal, a social enterprise. Piramal Sarvajal’s solutions are pioneered on a model built around decentralised water filtration plants in communities which are not connected to municipal water supply. The patented state-of-the-art five stage water purification plant is equipped with reverse osmosis and ultra violet technology that has a filtration capacity of 500 litres an hour. The purification plant is linked to a water ATM which is solar powered, cloud-connected, wall- mounted, smartcard enabled, and automatic water vending machine. Cashless transactions, pay-per-use methodology, 24x7 service availability, user-level transaction mapping and real time impact monitoring are the unique features which form the foundation of quality control, operational accountability and price transparency. These environment-friendly water ATMs eliminate the hassle of queues for women or skipping school for children. We have provided clean drinking water through 64 solar water ATMs across 7 states. Over the next three years, we will support 75 villages, half of which will be in aspirational districts, spread over the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and impact the lives of an additional 1,50,000 people.
Around 71% of adolescent girls in India are unaware of menstruation until menarche and many drop out of school altogether once they begin menstruating, missing almost 20% of their school days. The WASHE programme focuses on issues surrounding water scarcity, access to safe and proper sanitation through construction of proper infrastructure such as gender-specific toilets, sanitary pad dispensers, etc, and the lack of awareness about topics such as menstrual hygiene in schools and communities. Being active across 24 municipal schools, we have impacted the lives of over 1,00,000 girls providing them with the education they deserve, starting as early as age 5 and continuing into adolescence, thereby ensuring their retention in schools.