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Drinkwell — Impact Brief

Introduction

A social enterprise providing access to affordable and clean drinking water for millions of underserved customers for the first time. Drinkwell’s solution has the potential to improve the lives of low-income urban slumdwellers in Bangladesh where there is a low rate of piped clean drinking water via Water ATM-enabled systems.

Drinkwell is a water filtration operating and management company helping deliver safe, efficient, and affordable water to under-served communities. Drinkwell has partnerships with public utilities (for urban areas) financed with support of development funding. A Drinkwell Water “ATM” serves between 200-600 households which translates to 1,000-3,000 users per system through a pre-paid “pay-as-you-go” model. Drinkwell filters water using a proprietary resin-based modular filtration system at a lower operating cost and with higher efficiency compared with many other conventional technologies such as Reverse Osmosis.

Use of GIF Funds

Scaling Drinkwell’s partnership with urban water utilities by funding the installation, operation and maintenance of urban water utility systems as well as other activities consistent with this mission, which are in aggregate: (i) capex, (ii) working capital (iii) human resources; and (iv) sales and marketing.

Objectives

Successful installation and operation of 300 water systems with Dhaka WASA to pave way for scale-up across all of Dhaka city as well as replication with utilities and city corporations in other urban and peri-urban across Bangladesh and expansion of model with Chittagong WASA. Systems demonstrate lasting and measurable impact to end users through cost and time savings, improvements to quality of life, and by addressing contamination issues between point of collection and household use thereby leading to improved health outcomes. Innovation is adopted across India & Bangladesh and can secure follow-on financing that allow the company to scale to 10m+ beneficiaries in 5 yrs. Drinkwell continues to engage actively with GIF around enhancing the impact with end users and measurement of said impact, potentially by engaging with other partners in GIF’s network to address recontamination risk and improve water quality from point of sourcing through to point of consumption.

Impact to Date

Drinkwell’s systems demonstrate lasting and measurable impact to end users through cost and time savings and improvements to quality of life. In Bangladesh, Drinkwell has installed and operates 196 urban community water kiosks in Dhaka and 4 water kiosks in Chittagong with the city utilities, with more sites under installation. Responsive maintenance and customer response is now enabled through remote real time monitoring of the systems, kiosk caretakers and phone-based customer service. In India, Drinkwell has installed and maintains 202 water kiosks, 183 in Assam and 19 across West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Collectively, Drinkwell has directly deployed 402 kiosks impacting over 636,000 people across Bangladesh and India.