US govt’s OPIC commits $12.5 mn loan for clean drinking water in India
New Delhi, Mar 26 The US government development fund arm OPIC has committed USD 12.5 million loan for a project to deliver affordable clean drinking water to low and middle-income groups in India.
The loan will go to the Indian subsidiary of California based WaterHealth International Inc — WaterHealth India Pvt Ltd — to install 900 decentralised plants to purify water on site and sell it at price three to four times lower than bottled water alternatives currently available in the market.
The USD 12.5 million (Rs 80 crore) loan from the Overseas Private Investment Arm (OPIC) will go to a project that will expand access to affordable clean drinking water to millions of low and middle-income people in India, OPIC said in a statement.
The clean water vending machines are to be installed at places like railway stations, bus stations, shopping malls, public and private institutions or any high footfall location where consumers are able to purchase purified water ranging in amounts from 300 ml to 5 litres.
Most consumers carry their own bottles and WaterHealth refills them but consumers may also purchase reusable bottles.
"This project offers an innovative approach to making safe water more available and affordable and illustrates how businesses can develop new solutions to long standing global challenges," said Ray W Washburne, OPIC President and CEO.
"By increasing access to clean water, the project will improve the health and quality of life for millions of Indians, particularly women who typically have the primary responsibility for obtaining and managing the household water supply."
"Built around the latest quality and operational monitoring technologies, this platform allows anyone the ability to sustainably and affordably provide safe drinking water to consumers in urban and rural areas and in weeks instead of years," said Sanjay Bhatnagar, CEO of WaterHealth International.
OPIC’s loan to WaterHealth was committed under OPIC’s new 2X Global Women’s Initiative to mobilise USD 1 billion to invest in women and unlock the economic opportunity they represent.
In addition to expanding the availability of safe water, the project is projected to create more than 1,300 jobs in India and introduce advanced technologies and business models for providing potable water.