Business approach to point-of-use water treatment solutions

Antenna’s goal is to sustainably fight the lack of access to safe water of the world’s most disadvantaged populations.

  • Having piped water is still a dream for many (poor infrastructure, heavy investment needs and lack of know-how are among the reasons why there is no sustainable access to safe water yet).
  • Point-of-use (PoU) water treatment solutions have proven to be economically and practically viable and are an intermediary solution to gaining access to safe water while waiting for piped water. PoU solutions include :

Antenna incubates market-based PoU solutions

Giving away or subsidising HWTS, such as chlorine flasks or filters, has distorted markets and has created the expectation that these are goods that it is better to wait for than to buy. As a result, Antenna does not distribute its solutions free of charge, but creates viable supply chains with local entrepreneurs that sell HWTS and safe water at radically affordable prices – reinvesting the profits in research and new projects:

  • Giving away products for free destroys markets.
  • HWTS commercialised through social enterprises gives water a value and helps raise awareness.
  • Establishing social safe water enterprises creates jobs and provides people with safe water sustainably.

Delivery of safe water at home and HWTS business models

Delivery of safe water at home – creating aspiration and providing convenience

The delivery of safe water at home is a water kiosk model that incorporates the aspiration of wanting to pay for something of value – safe water – and the convenience of water delivered to customers at their doorstep. It is especially interesting for areas where water scarcity or a lack of infrastructure prevails and access to drinking water is limited. Read SSWM’s background factsheet on “Household Water Treatment Solution Technologies and Water Kiosk Models”.

Delivery of safe water at home in India: Antenna supporting Spring Health

Providing safe and affordable drinking water to one and all has been Spring Health’s central mission since 2011. Together with Antenna Foundation as technical advisor, Spring Health has developed an innovative network of 252 water kiosks (as of  October 2019) in rural Indian communities. The business model, with its value proposition that creates the aspirational desire to pay for the water, works as follows :

  • Each kiosk is run by a local entrepreneur who is responsible for purifying and delivering 10- and 20-litre jerry cans of safe drinking water to people’s homes.
  • Spring Health’s staff oversees business expansion, entrepreneur training, social marketing activities for market creation and kiosk installation (under a franchising system that includes the installation of water tanks and filters and the provision of chlorine (produced with WATA™ technology) for water purification or, depending on the source of water, Auropure, a more sophisticated water treatment system).
  • With a cost of INR 15 (CHF 0.22), including delivery, Spring Health’s 20-litre jerry cans are 10 times cheaper than the cheapest brands of bottled water available.
  • Spring Health and Antenna Foundation are partnering with TRANSFORM to scale up water kiosk home delivery services through 2020. An additional 100,000 people will have sustainable access to safe water in rural India through this joint initiative.
  • The long-term goal (by 2025) is to bring this service to 1,000 villages across India and to reach 1 million people with safe water.

Read more about Spring Health and its unique business model.

Household water treatment solutions business model

Household water treatment solutions (HWTS) are water treatment options at the household level. Antenna has tested a variety of products and business models, among which:

  • Chlorine flasks in Guinea Conakry
  • Last-mile distribution of ceramic water filters in Cambodia
  • Successful replication of the Guinea business model in Burkina Faso: After the successful experience in Guinea, Antenna Foundation supported the incubation of a Burkinabe social enterprise – Bilada – in 2018 that has started producing and selling its chlorine flasks for the local market.

Read more about HWTS and Bilada

Read the “BILADA equipped for its future production of chlorinated solutions” article by La Fabrique (in French).

Antenna scales social businesses

Safe Water Business Toolbox

Developed with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Antenna’s Safe Water Business Perspective offers:

  • Validated solutions to establish and scale business approaches to safe water
  • Lessons learnt and experiences to support NGOs and entrepreneurs in providing safe water through market-based approaches
  • Over 40 thematic factsheets
  • 29 real-life case studies detailing hands-on experiences
  • A video on the concept
  • A video explaining how to manoeuvre through the toolbox and find what you are looking for.

Sanitation and Water Entrepreneurship Pact

Antenna is founding member of SWEP (Sanitation and Water Entrepreneurship Pact) – the global network that supports entrepreneurs in realising access to water and sanitation for all. Together with SWEP member organisations, we provide a more effective offering to water and sanitation entrepreneurs.

More information on our mutual activities.