Profile: Piramal SarvajalCEO- Vasu PadmanabhanFounded- August 2008Headquarters- Ahmadabad, GujaratEstimated Revenue: $3 millionIndustry Sector- Retail DistributorsStatus- Private, Subsidiary of PiramalEstimated Employees- 1000Competitors- Water Health, Water Life, Water Planet,
Lenntech, Meco etcIntroduction:Piramal Sarvajal, seeded by Piramal Foundation in
2008, is a mission driven social venture which plans and deploys innovative solutions
for creating reasonable access of safe drinking water in underserved regions.
“Sarvajal” in Sanskrit means water for all. Sarvajal is at the cutting edge of
creating technologies and business practices in safe drinking water sector that
are intended to make a simple market-based model which is feasible in both
rural and urban conditions. The mission is to innovate, demonstrate, enable and
promote affordable and safe drinking water solutions.Piramal Sarvajal, which was started by Anand Shah, sets
up community level arrangements that are operated locally but are centrally
managed by market-based pay per use system. They work across 16 states in
India- Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh,
Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Bihar Jharkhand, Karnataka,
Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Telangana and Odisha.How
it all began and the technology used:97 million people living in India lack access to
safe drinking water and are at the risk of contracting water-borne diseases.
Developing a workable solution was not an easy task. Sarvajal faced various difficulties.
Although there was water purification technologies available but the company
wanted a financially viable and sustainable business model.Sarvajal started with door-to-door delivery of RO
water. This technique was not successful as people used to allot different
delivery times which increased the manual labor. Another problem with this was
delayed payments. To solve these two problems, they came up with the idea of
water ATMs and prepaid cards.V1 had a water tank locked above the machine. The
water tank was connected to the RO plant, which used groundwater. This plant
processed 1000 liters in an hour. V1 had three buttons: 1, 5 and 10 liters.
People would can their cards and get the required amount of water.The problem with V1 was that water was wasted
because standard sizes of containers were unavailable. If the customer pressed
5 liters button, and the container was 4.5 liters, 0.5 liters would go waste.There was a social problem as well. One big village
in Rajasthan has two to three smaller villages called Dhani. If one water ATM
was installed in one Dhani, the others would object. The advanced model of
water ATM took care of these two problems. The new model is strategically
placed so that it is easily accessible and is made simpler by providing just
one button.Sarvajal’s water ATM is a low cost, solar-powered,
self-contained water vending machine that stores clean water and can be
refilled by the nearest franchisee. The company now has 154 franchisees and now
delivers clean water to 100000 people.The operations of water ATMs are managed through
local partners. This promotes local entrepreneurships.Sarvajal, for-profit social enterprise aims that
people should drink clean and safe drinking water than spending their income on
Sarvajal adopted a franchising model as it would
penetrate local markets. It created a network of suppliers by signing
agreements with local entrepreneurs. They operate a hub and spoke system- work
with local entrepreneurs, provide them with water purification technology and
support them in maintenance and other back end services.
Customers buy a prepaid smart card, which can be
recharged with the cell phones, swipe it over the sensor of the machine to get
the information of water quality and the credit balance in their card. They select
the measure of water required and fill their containers accordingly. Water ATMs
provides access 24 hours and 7 days a week. These water ATMs have significantly
reduced the time spent on water collection. And also creates income-generating
opportunities and also proves to be a business opportunity for the franchisees
that operate them.
If something goes wrong in any of the ATMs, Sarvajal
is immediately informed through its customized ERP system that manages water
businesses from the source to consumption. This system integrated Sarvajal’s
cloud based Soochak system which monitors the status of its reverse osmosis and
ultra-violet filtration units, maintenance and its supply chain units.
Sarvajal’s different water filtration framework reduces
99.9 percent of germs and guarantees that minerals, for example, fluoride which
can be unsafe in overabundance, fall inside suggested levels.
to the company:
The total cost of setting the RO plant is around 5 lakh
to 10 lakh. Franchisees pay 40% of their earnings to the company but if the
franchisees own the machine, they pay only 20% of their earnings to the
company. The company also provides advertisement and maintenance support. The
company has partnered with local entrepreneurs, panchayats and community-based
organizations to run the water treatment plants. Local community members are
hired and are given proper trainings to manage the purification units. These
local partners earn up to Rs 35000 per month. The projects are monitored on
daily basis to ensure purity.
cost water treatment plant.
Monitoring device for each water system which gives real-time information on
water production and maintenance.
Pre-payment mechanism for franchisees.
Water ATM- A solar- powered, cloud connected RFID-based and Cash-less water
Sarvajal is currently targeting only 60% of total
drinking water market of its operating areas.
It doesn’t target 30% of the population which is BPL
who cannot afford to pay for water and to 10% that can afford to buy a domestic
and Promotional strategies of Sarvajal:
Proposition- “Clean water is accessible right in the beneficiaries’ village and
clean water is vital to health.”
Promotion activities- Advertisements/awareness campaigns in new villages.
Awareness activities- Events with role plays and games for kids.
and Indirect contact with end customers.
on basic business practices- Marketing training for franchisees every two
free landlines to have direct feedback from clients.
reach through local networking, face-to-face meeting and a regular telephone
and maintains contact with local communities.
reinforcements- Monthly pre-paid cards for consumers and free container
For franchisees, incentives on
Water quality control:
Water quality control is done by a controlling
device that reports automatically to the Sarvajal’s Headquarters every day.
Sarvajal also provides free of charge container cleaning services to its
E-monitoring device on each machine counts liters,
detects technical issues and checks all repairers’ work and directly
communicates with the HQ. Sarvajal can also block the Water ATM if it faces any
maintenance issues. Spare parts are also available easily as the technology is
costs less than a cup of tea. (30 paisa for a litre)
insurance” against water borne diseases.
Old Business model:
Franchisees operate the machine and sell water at Rs
6 for 20 liters batch. For the first month, the entire revenue is kept by the
franchisees and from next month onwards 40% of water sales revenue is given to
New Business model:
Franchisees operate and sell water at Rs 6 for 20 liters
and additional Rs 4 for delivery at the door steps. For chilled water they
charge Rs 9. They keep 100% revenue for the first month and from second month
onwards, 20% is given to Sarvajal.
plants have been set up in just 4-5 years.
than 200,000,000 liters of clean drinking water served.
than 100000 regular customers in 6 states.
decrease in water-borne health diseases.
solar water ATMs can be placed in any locations, it reduces caste issues and
can deliver water in any community overcoming social segregation.
people are served daily across 16 Indian states.
Economical and Environmental Impact:
purification units, 332+ solar powered, clouds connected water ATMs are established
which generates 26 crore economy rise.
priced at Rs. 6 for 20 liters and additional Rs. 4 for home delivery. Easy
access and reliability of safe drinking water almost 100000 beneficiaries and
this number is increasing.
impact in remote areas by solving the problems of safe drinking water with
solar water ATMs.
has been able to bring down the waste water generated drastically. The
purification technology is 6 times more effective than a domestic purifier.
creation opportunities: 400 plus employment opportunities have been created
that encourage clean water in communities.
order to reduce energy needs of the franchisees, it has developed decentralized
solar powered ATMs.
plastic disposable containers adding onto plastic pollution
for Urban India:
While rural India is flourishing with community
level water solutions, urban India remains untouched by developments and
innovations and continues to face challenges of drinking water.
Another challenge that urban people face is
depending on non-assured sources of water or is left with costly alternatives
like buying Rs15-20 water bottle. Plastic bottles in turn add to the waste
issue and builds contamination.
Sarvajal faced these challenges?
Hub and Spoke drinking water solutions for urban slums:
In order to serve areas which are not
well-equipped and non-piped areas, Sarvajal uses Hub and Spoke model. This
model is outlined in a way that serves areas which are not well-equipped with
power or channeled water supply.
This model comprises of a localized
installed purification unit and a network of water ATM units installed at
multiple locations within the community. Purification technology and capacity
of the purification unit is chosen on the basis of quality of raw water
available and regularity of power supply/target population respectively.
Transporting water from the
purification site to the ATMs requires a modified tank-mounted vehicle that
would collect water from the site of purification and fill the ATMs through
no-touch transfer mechanism. As soon as the water level goes down a certain
limit in the ATM, an alert will be generated and will be refilled by water
carried by the vehicle from the plant site.
Experience in Delhi and Bhubaneswar:
Piramal Sarvajal has pioneered the
Hub & Spoke business model and has installed it effectively in 8
resettlement colonies (slums) at Delhi with the support of Delhi Jal Board.
After Delhi, Bhubaneswar is the
principal Smart City to setup a ‘Hub N Spokes’ water ATM project and has signed
up with Piramal Sarvajal to set up the decentralized safe drinking water
solution through 4 Hub Purification Units and 40 ATMs.