India has been ranked 122nd of 123 nations on the Safe Water Index. Today ground water poisoning is a major national problem as 80% of villages depend on ground water as the only source for drinking. There are 200,000+ rural habitations in India affected by water quality problems and this number would only increase as more and more sources are tested by Govt. agencies.
“I came across an article, about chemical contamination in a small village named Dongargaon, 100 Kms from Nagpur, mentioning severe health effects on the people of this village. We immediately decided to visit the village and on our visit we observed that 60% of children were affected by dental problems and bone related problems because of consuming water contaminated by fluoride as there was no alternate source available. Adults and old people were even more affected and some of them had crippled bones and joints by consuming fluoride polluted water over a long period. We decided to work on this problem and within a year developed a product for fluoride removal and set up our first community water centre in this village. This was very well accepted by the villagers and based on this Govt. of Maharashtra made a policy to tackle fluoride affected villages based on our technology,” says Abhijeet, one of the co-founders. Realizing the immense need for such solutions across India, Rite Water decided to focus on providing solutions for water-quality affected villages.
The Rite Water team has a mix of young as well as highly experienced professionals. Abhijeet Gan is an alumnus of BITS-Pilani & SPJain, Mumbai and has worked with companies like Colgate Palmolive (I) Ltd and i2 technologies. Vinod is Chemical Engineer with 30+ years of experience across sectors like Water Treatment, Steel and Chemicals.Aarti who is looking after research is a certified woman entrepreneur by ISB-Goldman Sachs. Dr. Thergaonkar, the chief adviser is a senior scientist & ex Dy. Director of NEERI (National Enviornmental Engineering & Research Institute). He is an authority on water quality and geogenic contamination and has formerly worked as consultant to UNICEF, WHO & State Governments on tackling water quality problems.
Rite Water’s major revenue comes from community water centers set across water quality affected villages. These water treatment plants are based on clean technologies and products developed for removal of chemical contaminants from ground water. Public Health Departments of States are their major clients. Their revenue comes in the form of capital cost for setting up water centres and subsequently through operation & maintenance of these plants. A part of their revenue is also generated by selling water treatment plants to industries. The business model of Rite Water is primarily B2G & B2B hence, marketing is direct; mostly managed by interacting with the water supply departments and industries.
They are currently operational in 3 states. They are planning to expand on a pan India basis covering the top 10 quality affected states in coming 1-2 years by setting up sales team in each state.
Till date they have set up 80+ community centres in fluoride and salinity affected villages in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. These centres provide fluoride free safe water to more than 150,000 villagers every day. These plants are operated by local villagers. Some of these plants are running successfully since last 2 years in remote villages proving the sustainability of these plants in rural environment.
In Nov 2011, Rite Water was selected by Government of India to present the success story of tackling problem of Fluoride in Maharashtra before all the State Ministers & Water Supply Secretaries at the Prestigious Workshop on Water Quality at Delhi.
There is immense opportunity to set up community based water treatment plants in quality affected villages on pan India basis. Through this model they wish to reach at least 5000 habitations across water-quality affected states and provide safe drinking water to at least 5 million villagers.
Rite Water, apart from the economic returns, is generating a great amount of social returns. It gives us immense satisfaction is that through use of technology, we are able to reach thousands of affected villagers and impact their lives significantly through our model.
|Social Impact by Rite Water:|
|Standard of Living (Health Impact)||By providing villagers with safe and fluoride free drinking water, this company has greatly contributed to improving the standard of living and giving them a better and healthy future. They no more have to go through the ordeal of pitted and dis-coloured teeth and crippling and weakening of bones caused by fluoride.|
|Employment in rural area||Through community water centres set up by company, the villagers are given employment as operators at each water centres to monitor and maintain it. Today 60+ people are employed at such water centres.|
|Income of the rural people||This innovation prevents severe health hazard like skeletal fluorosis amongst rural people which leads to permanent disability thereby reducing the productivity of these people which adversely impacts their earning capability.|
|Environment conservation||Unlike the other technologies, where fluoride is just transformed from one form to another, and hence goes back to the environment, their technology removes the Fluoride permanently and hence making environment fluoride free over a period of time.Rite Water’s focus is on Clean technologies and use of non conventional energy like solar for setting up community water centres.|
In 2011-12 Rite Water generated revenues of 5 Cr and looking at the market demand, they are expecting an exponential growth in the coming 5 years. They have identified 10 states which are affected by water quality problems and where it is necessary to establish sales office. They are now in process of raising funds through VC/PE to achieve their growth plans.
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YourStory.in is the official media partner with BITS Spark, a BITS Pilani entrepreneurship program that provides coaching, mentoring and angel funding for startups founded by BITS Pilani alumni. Rite Water is a part of BITS Spark mentorship program.