$12.5 million OPIC loan to expand clean drinking water in India

WaterHealth India Pvt. Ltd. will install about 900 decentralized plants across the country to purify water on site.

With India facing the scarcity of clean drinking water, a US government agency has come up with resources to help the country solve the problem.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution, will fund a project to distribute clean water to millions of Indians at an affordable price.

OPIC will provide a $12.5 million (Rs. 80 crores) loan to a project that will expand access to affordable clean drinking water to millions of low and middle-income people in India, said a statement issued by the US Embassy in India.

The loan will be provided to WaterHealth India Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of WaterHealth International, Inc. of Irvine, California, to enhance the clean water distribution facilities in India.

The company is expected to install about 900 decentralized plants across India to purify water on site.

The water purified from the plants will be distributed to the public at a price that is three to four times lower than bottled water alternatives currently available in the marketplace.

Consumers can purchase water in different quantities ranging from 300ml to 5 liters in reusable bottles. They can also carry their own water to purify from the plants located near railway stations, bus stations, shopping malls, public and private institutions or any high footfall location, where one can buy purified water ranging in amounts from 300ml to 5 liters.

“This project offers an innovative approach to making safe water more available and affordable and illustrates how businesses can develop new solutions to longstanding 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,” he added.

An estimated 63 million Indians don’t have access to clean drinking water. As much as 67 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas and about 7 percent of them live without access to clean drinking water.

“WaterHealth International has been committed to improving access to safe and affordable drinking water for underserved consumers for over a decade. During that time, we have built the world’s lowest cost, global operating platform for decentralized water purification plants,” said Sanjay Bhatnagar, CEO of WaterHealth International.

OPIC’s loan to WaterHealth was committed under the agency’s new 2X Global Women’s Initiative to mobilize $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.

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