Identifying and understanding the problem.
Access to clean water and sanitary conditions are a basic human right. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.5 billion people (or 35% of global population) lack sufficient access to improved sanitation, while 780 million people do not have access to a clean water source. Further, an estimated 800,000 children die each year due to diarrheal diseases with 88% of those deaths linked directly to the consumption of unsafe drinking water or inadequate availability of water for hygienic practices.
Although the water crisis is ever-present throughout the developing world, India faces the most significant risk in terms of population and immediate impact. The Wall Street Journal recently cited a study by WaterAid stating that India has the highest number of people in the world living without access to safe water with 76 million people “forced to collect dirty water from open ponds and rivers or spend most of what they earn buying water from tankers”. The study blames “chronic under-funding and the government’s inability to prioritize clean water” as the driver of this epidemic.
In the face of a rapidly growing population, one in five Indians live on less than $2.00 a day. On its own, government sponsored infrastructure investment will not alleviate the problem. Instead, the solution to India’s burgeoning water crisis lies within the private sector. The government understands this and passed a law in April of 2016 requiring “businesses earning more than 105 million Euros each year to give 2% of their net profit to social responsibility causes”. The current political and social landscape now has ample economic incentives for social entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to solve this problem. The majority of these solutions focus on the availability and filtration of water. While it is crucial to focus on these aspects to mitigate the water crisis, the remaining pillars of the safe water ecosystem are often overlooked. At Flow, we focus on the delivery, storage, and consumption of water. Once the water has been made available and potable, we seek to revolutionize the way users interact with water. They will be able to easily wash hands, dishes, and utensils, all while decreasing the amount of water used for such activities. We believe that increased efficiency in water usage puts control where it belongs: in the hands of the user.