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 three in ten people still don’t have access to this basic necessity.2
That’s 844 million people3 at risk of life-threatening waterborne illnesses. We know that, worldwide, contaminated drinking water is responsible for more than half a million diarrhoeal deaths every year.4 Unsafe water contributes to chronic problems like undernutrition and stunted growth. Stunting affects 159 million children under five and can have a long-lasting impact on physical and mental development.
A lack of access to safe water – or indeed, any water – is made worse by the rise in droughts and flooding that we’re seeing 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. This directly contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, specifically target 6.1 that focuses on access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
Pureit: A solution for anyone, anywhere
Many people simply cannot afford clean and safe drinking water, or live in places that don’t have clean and safe mains water supplies.
Did you know?
We set out to overcome the barriers of affordability and lack of access to clean and safe water by inventing a way to purify water which would also be affordable for those who needed it most. After five years of research, in 2008 we introduced Pureit – our innovative household water purifier.
Pureit uses our unique GermKill Kit™ to remove harmful viruses, bacteria, parasites and other impurities from water, in line with strict international standards. It does this without the need for boiling the water. There’s no need for gas, electricity or a continuous water supply. This means anyone, anywhere can use it.
It’s as safe as boiled water, but cheaper. A litre of safe drinking water costs just thirty Indian paise. And for the equivalent of just over one euro cent, someone can have 3.2 litres of drinking water.
Using Pureit is simple, affordable and effective.
Pureit’s health and business impact
A decade after its launch, Pureit is still the world’s most advanced home water purification system. We now offer around 22 different models – the most affordable is just €20. All our models produce water that meets the US Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for microbiologically safe drinking water.
Research shows that Pureit reduces the occurrence of diarrhoea by up to 50%5 – even without other important factors such as handwashing with soap.
Available in 13 countries, Pureit is the most widely used system for home water purification, and has protected over 80 million people from waterborne illnesses. We’ve provided 106 billion litres of safe drinking water since 2005 and aim to reach 150 billion by 2020.
We want to help the world’s poorest communities to access safe drinking water. This will particularly benefit children, who are most vulnerable to the effects of unsafe drinking water. Not only can this stunt their height, frequent diarrhoea and infections from waterborne diseases can also mean they fall behind at school or drop out altogether.
Community water: turning vision into practice
Many people in India can’t afford to install and run a Pureit unit in their home. But at the community water plants, they can buy 20 litres of water for just 10-13 euro cents.
We’re looking at different models to serve communities with accessible and affordable, clean drinking water where it is most needed. And we see significant possibilities in community water plants, which provide clean drinking water from a central point.
We began partnering with WaterHealth International (WHI), who are global experts in community water systems, in 2017. By setting up community water plants, we can reach families who can’t afford to have their own Pureit system at home. Together with WHI, we have set up four pilot plants in the city of Tumkur and two in Ramdurg. These are managed by WHI and have shown encouraging results.
This work contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals
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, Pureit’s 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.
It’s 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 contaminated with faeces, these topics are intertwined.
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.
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.