The Economics of Clean Water in Rural India – Community Pure Water
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The Economics of Clean Water in Rural India

Clean water is not just a basic necessity; it is a fundamental driver of economic development, especially in rural areas where access to safe water is limited. As World Bank Group President David Malpass stated,

“Deteriorating water quality is stalling economic growth, worsening health conditions, reducing food production, and exacerbating poverty in many countries.”

Communities without reliable access to clean water face numerous challenges, including child mortality, stunted growth, increased disease rates and medical costs, reduced education rates, agricultural failures, and food insecurity. Climate change and pollution exacerbate water stress, further hindering economic growth and development.

The Water Crisis is an Economic Crisis

Clean water scarcity presents two significant risks to economic development in India. Firstly, time spent collecting water accounts for billions of dollars in lost economic opportunities. Secondly, the World Bank estimates that about 21% of communicable diseases in India are water-related. The economic costs of these waterborne diseases are an estimated USD 600 million annually with 73 million days of lost labor.

Some people living in poverty spend up to 20% of their income to buy water.

The Impact of Sustainable Safe Water Solutions

To address the water crisis, it is essential to fund, implement, and maintain clean water systems that are sustainable for the long-term. Well-managed water resources and solutions positively impact productivity, reduce healthcare costs, and dramatically increase work and school attendance, contributing to the overall economic health of a community. In fact, sustainable clean water solutions bring an estimated return-on-investment of 21 times their cost, according to international aid agency WaterAid.

Additionally, the presence of reliable water infrastructure attracts investment in rural areas. Businesses are more likely to establish operations in areas with reliable access to clean water, leading to job creation and economic growth.

How Community Pure Water Drives Development

At Community Pure Water, our mission goes beyond installing water purification centers. Our success relies on close collaboration with local Gram Panchayat members who understand their communities best. Through our Community Engagement teams, we educate locals about the dangers of contaminated water and the advantages of drinking purified water. By offering training, resources, and ongoing support, we ensure long-term sustainability and community ownership, driving economic growth for generations to come.
Read about our IOM model here.

13 years and a million liters later: Our oldest WPC in Mangalpally village has been successfully running since 2011.

The Impact of Clean Water in Action

The impact of clean water access is evident in communities like Nizambad village in Nagarkurnool district, Telangana where residents have experienced transformative change since gaining access to safe water. With reduced time and money spent on fetching water and recovering from waterborne illnesses, the community has seen tangible economic growth. Back in 2021, when we first visited the community, clean drinking water was a distant dream for its residents. Their only recourse was to trek to a neighboring village every other day for water, often contaminated with insects and health risks. Consequently, waterborne illnesses were rampant, school attendance rates suffered, and poverty loomed over the village.

With the installation of a water purification center, life started to turn around.

Currently, local community member Kasturi Thirupatheya operates the center where all funds pulled from it are used by him to support his family’s needs and the residual finances are sufficient for the upkeep and maintenance of the center.

At the water center, a vibrant ecosystem of ancillary businesses has sprung to life, such as a vendor selling water chillers and a farmer offering fresh produce. These bustling enterprises owe their success to the steady stream of visitors collecting water daily. With clean water readily available, community members are seizing the opportunity to channel their energy into economic empowerment ventures. It’s a lively hub of activity, where every drop of water fuels not just hydration, but also dreams of prosperity!

From once lugging water over long distances, women now run bustling small businesses within the community, supporting their families with newfound zest. Men have unlocked greater earning potential, investing their extra productive hours into work. And children? Well, they’re beaming with health and attending school regularly, ready to embrace a brighter future!

Improved health outcomes, increased productivity, entrepreneurial opportunities, agricultural development, and infrastructure investment are just some of the economic benefits observed in communities with clean water access.

By investing in clean water access, we not only improve health and well-being but also create opportunities for economic growth and prosperity in rural communities. Clean water is not just a gift; it’s an investment in a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

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When safe water flows, so does possibility. Women can earn an income. Kids have the time and health to go to school. Families can look ahead to bright futures.

Be an agent of change.


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