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IFC to help India’s rural poor access clean drinking water

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping expand the availability of affordable, clean drinking water to about three million people in India by supporting WaterHealth India Private Limited, which provides water services to Indian villages.

IFC’s $15 million loan to WaterHealth India, a subsidiary of WaterHealth International, will help install more than 600 systems in villages in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The implementation of WaterHealth’s systems will help minimize toxic by-products from alternative water-purification methods like chlorination.

More than 25 percent of India’s population does not have access to clean drinking water. Unsafe water is often the cause for waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea. As more villages are included, the WaterHealth project will have important health benefits as well as help generate local employment and provide training, which could significantly improve earnings for people in rural areas.

“This project, IFC’s first in India’s distributed water services sector, will provide access to clean drinking water for rural households,” said Paolo M. Martelli,
IFC Director for South Asia. “Increasing access to affordable, safe water will have positive impacts on health and education.”

“To be able to provide clean water at affordable prices for households that earn less than $2 a day, we turned to IFC for long-term financing,” said Vikas Shah, Chief Operating Officer for WaterHealth India.

WaterHealth India has already installed systems in nearly 200 villages in Andhra Pradesh. Through its water centres, the company employs service operators, maintenance engineers, and other staff who engage with people from the village for services and trains them on operating machines and collecting revenue.

To learn more about IFC’s activities in India, visit www.ifc.org/southasia

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