March 31, 2023
Community Cleaning Initiative for Zero-cost Purified Water
WIN Foundation and Wheels Global Foundation have recently signed an agreement with VOS BROS ENTERPRISES PVT. LTD. to provide 75% of the funding required to build 8 Water Purifiers. The water purification technology was developed by Prof. Sirhendu De, a professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, and the recipient of the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. The decision was taken at the recently concluded UN Water Conference in New York.
The technology uses naturally occurring Laterite soil treated with HCl and washed with NaOH to create a media that readily absorbs arsenic and many other heavy metals like Cadmium, Chromium, etc from contaminated water sources. VOS BROS ENTERPRISES, the brainchild of Kgpian Saket Kumar, has licensed the technology for further development and adoption for community-scale water purifiers.
WIN and WGF, the non-profit organizations that aim to support rural development in India through technological and affordable solutions decided to provide funding of $88,500 (WIN: 50% and WGF: 25%) to realize the project undertaken by Kumar. The funds will be used to build eight water purifiers based on organic aqua solutions and operate them for a period of five years. The project will cover eight villages — Pakati, Jhamua, Benwariya, Dhawri, Bhimpatti, Dumaria, and Kharauni, in the Bhojpur district of the state of Bihar. The zone was selected based on the impact of severe Arsenic poisoning.
Approximately 250 million people in India in about 10 states are the victims of Arsenic poisoning. Kumar intends to experiment and prove a novel concept of providing clean drinking water in the selected villages. The business model will include an annual fee of ₹ 365/- per village household that will be bartered in lieu of clean habitat. Instead of selling water at under 10 paise per liter, the “Barter Water” model will require villagers to keep their homes and the surrounding 100 meters radius around their homes clean, use approved toilets, and dispose of solid waste only in an approved manner. The village panchayat along with Kumar’s non-profit organization Water Bank Foundation will be involved in the monitoring process. Failure to maintain a clean environment will lead to a reduction in the barter subsidy.
The social enterprise business model has been a finalist in the Aliaxis-owned Ashirvad Pipers Challenge Prize. Kumar also met several members of WIN and WGF including Kgpians in Washington DC.