Providing safe drinking water
We’re providing people with access to something that many of us take for granted – safe, affordable drinking water.
A basic human right
Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right that people simply can’t live without.1 Yet it’s something that one in nine people still don’t have.2
That’s 844 million people3 at risk of life-threatening waterborne illnesses. Worldwide, contaminated drinking water is responsible for more than half a million deaths a year.4 Unsafe water contributes to chronic problems like undernutrition and stunted growth. Affecting 159 million children under five, stunting can have a long-lasting impact on physical and mental development.
Lack of access to safe water – or indeed, any water – is compounded by the rise in droughts and flooding as a result of climate change. But poverty is also a huge challenge.
We’ve developed a simple, affordable solution to help more people get the safe drinking water they need, directly contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
A solution that anyone, anywhere can use
Many people simply cannot afford clean and safe drinking water, or live in places that don’t have clean and safe mains water supplies.
We set out to overcome this barrier by inventing a way to purify water which would be affordable for those who need it most. After five years’ research, we introduced Pureit – our innovative household water purifier – in 2008. Pureit uses our unique GermKill Kit™ to remove harmful viruses, bacteria, parasites and other impurities from water – in line with strict international standards – without boiling.
There’s no need for gas, electricity or for a continuous water supply. This means anyone, anywhere can use it. Using Pureit is simple but effective. For just one Indian rupee (just over one euro cent), someone can have 3.2 litres of drinking water. It’s as safe as boiled water, but cheaper.
Tapping into opportunities to support people and our business
A decade after it was launched, Pureit is still the world’s most advanced home water purification system. We now offer around 22 different models – the most affordable is just 1,500 Indian rupees (€20). These all produce purified water that meets the US Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for microbiologically safe drinking water.
Pureit alone reduces the occurrence of diarrhoea by up to 50%5 – even without other important factors like handwashing with soap. It has already protected over 80 million people from waterborne illnesses. Available in 12 countries, Pureit is the most widely used system for home water purification. We’ve supplied 96 billion litres of safe drinking water since 2005 and aim to reach 150 billion by 2020.
No child will be left behind
Pureit puts safe drinking water on the menu for millions of people who couldn’t afford it before. But even one rupee for over three litres is too expensive for some.
Children are most vulnerable to the effects of unsafe drinking water. It can stunt their height, and frequent diarrhoea and other infections from waterborne diseases can mean they fall behind at school or drop out altogether.
On World Water Day in March 2017, we pledged that no child will be left behind. So we’re working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and microfinance organisations across Asia and Africa to put Pureit within reach of even the world’s poorest communities.
Community water: turning vision into practice
Many people in India can’t afford to install and run a Pureit unit at home. But at the community water plants, they can buy 20 litres of water for just 8–10 rupees.
We’re looking at different models to serve communities with accessible and affordable clean drinking water where it is most needed. And we see big possibilities in community water plants, which provide clean drinking water from a central point.
In 2017, we began partnering with Water Health International (WHI) – global experts in community water systems. By setting up community water plants, we can reach families who can’t afford to have their own Pureit system at home. So far, we have set up four pilot plants in the city of Tumkur, which are managed by WHI.
Cutting the cost of safe drinking water for people & the planet
Pureit’s carbon footprint is at least 80% smaller than boiled or bottled water
The health of the environment and the people in it are inextricably linked. Pureit not only cuts the cost of safe drinking water, but also reduces the environmental impact. Our detailed lifecycle analysis shows that per litre, its carbon footprint is at least 80% smaller than boiled or bottled water.6
At the same time, we’re creating new innovative solutions to keep people safe from toxins or pollutants in their local environments.
All in the WASH
Improving access to safe drinking water is just one part of our work around water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in impoverished communities worldwide. With at least 2 billion7 people drawing drinking water from a source that’s contaminated with faeces, these topics are inextricably linked.
We’re partnering with others to create transformational change – that is, systems change – by running programmes and raising awareness of WASH issues. As well as extending access to safe drinking water, our WASH programmes and partnerships also aim to change handwashing habits and extend access to toilets.
1 United Nations General Assembly: Resolution 64/292, 2010.
2 Water.org: https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/
3 World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en/
4 World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en/
5 According to an independent study by the National Institute of Epidemiology.
6 Based on detailed lifecycle assessments, Pureit’s greenhouse gas impact (measured in carbon dioxide equivalent emissions) per litre of water is 80% less than boiling water or bottled water.
7 World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en/
Photo by Zayra Zeeshan Raza