Over 50 percent of India’s population lack access to clean drinking water, says a UNICEF report. It is further estimated that waterborne diseases pose a huge burden of around $600 million each year, for the country’s economy.
With a vision to make drinking water equitable and making sure every person gets the healthiest possible water without littering the planet, Swajal was founded in 2014.
"We contribute to the health of society by ensuring that the water people drink is free from germs," says Dr Vibha Tripathi, Founder & CEO, Swajal.
"The enterprise was started solely to fulfil the needs of drinking water for the poorer section of society," she adds.
Swajal serves water that is mineralised and purified with ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis (RO) technology. The company has set up unique water ATMs that dispense drinking water at an extremely affordable rate – Re one for a litre of normal water and Rs two per litre for cold water.
The enterprise has to date, dispensed over five million litres of clean water to rural villages, schools, colleges, hospitals and railway stations in over 18 cities across the country. Through the internet of things, RFID and solar energy to deliver clean, drinking water, Swajal has served over 50 million travellers and over 5,000 families.
"Access to clean water is still a dream for many and children bear the most brunt of water contamination. Apart from building adequate infrastructure, we need to also focus on water harvesting methods to address the issue in the long run," says Tripathi.
Swajal sources water from various water bodies, such as ponds, rivers and wells and then purifies it through an extensive nine-step purification process. It is then dispensed through the water ATMs to areas that need it the most.
The enterprise works closely with the Government of India and also offers a franchise model for local vendors and shop owners. The enterprise offers a considerable 80 percent cost reduction in comparison to other water purification systems and is 60 percent more efficient than standard RO (reverse osmosis) systems.
Reminiscing the journey that Swajal has had, Tripathi feels they have "miles to go." However, she is confident of building a legacy where their "business would be the epitome of responsible action – a company that symbolises steering wheel movement in thought processes of coming businesses."
What made Dr Tripathi a Face of Vibrant Bharat?
“Clean drinking water is one of the most basic necessities. Swajal is effectively using technology and innovation to develop infrastructure aimed at making clean water available for all, at a very affordable price. Their water ATMs are futuristic yet sustainable and its work model epitomises responsible business.” Padma Priya J, Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat LLP"
Half of India's population still doesn't have access to clean drinking water. Dr Tripathi has been an innovator and a visionary, raising the bar in making drinking water equitable and sustainable. Swajal's concept of Water ATMs running on Solar Power has swiped the much-needed change for India to have reliable access to a water supply." Aman Dhall, Founder, CommsCredible.