Spring Health Water (India) Pvt. Ltd.
Mission: To bring radically affordable, life-saving, income generating products and services to 200 million new customers who live on less than $2 a day, improving their livelihoods and stimulating economic growth in rural villages.
Spring Health is implementing a radically affordable, decentralized delivery system, to provide safe and affordable drinking water to a potential 200 million people in Eastern India alone who earn less than $2 a day. We started out in Odisha, and plan to move into Bihar, E. Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal in the next two years.
Phase 1: Establish a network of village entrepreneurs to sell safe drinking water in small villages in Eastern India which will create the backbone of a last 50 meter supply chain.
Phase 2: Leverage this last 50 meter supply chain to provide other goods and services that meet critical needs to underserved customers in these small villages.
Phase 3: Aggregate village level produce for local and urban distribution.
Most water companies that operate in peri-urban areas and large villages in India use Reverse Osmosis (RO) as the technology of choice. While RO is the appropriate technology for cases in which water is contaminated with mineral or chemical contamination, there are large swathes of India where the contamination is only biological (primarily fecal bacteria) because of open defecation.
RO technology is relatively capital intensive – a typical RO system costs Rs. 312,000 ($5200 US) to purify 4,000 liters of water compared with Spring Health’s electro chlorinator which costs Rs. 15,600 ($260) to purify 80,000 liters of water. RO systems are wasteful of water, effluent generating, and require careful maintenance. Spring Health’s electro chlorination method uses a chlorine-based oxidant solution to get rid of biological contaminants in the water, that is already available in the village. Chlorination is safe, cost effective and the free residual chlorine in treated water renders it reasonably resistant to recontamination in storage and at the actual point of use.
Utilizing the principle of extreme affordability, Spring Health establishes decentralized electro chlorination points in small market towns in rural India, electrolyzing combined common salt and water at a cost of Rs. 65 (US$1.10) for the electricity and salt to produce 20 liters of sodium hypochlorite, enough to purify 80,000 liters of water. Spring Health’s staff then transports the small container of chlorine solution by motorcycle through a milk route to 50 villages in a 20 to 30 km radius. A Spring Health staff member doses the water stored in company owned water tanks at the village entrepreneur partner shop, doses the sweet water from the entrepreneur’s shallow tube well or open well and then tests it for quality before pronouncing it fit for sale.
The village entrepreneurs then distribute the water in 10 liter dispensers to households in a 2 km radius using cycle trolleys, or a 5 km radius using motorised auto rickshaws employing local youth as deliverymen. A slab based commission model that ratchets the entrepreneur’s percentage of commission upwards as he/she sells more water keeps the entrepreneur motivated to continuously increase penetration into his/her village with assistance from Spring Health’s specialty marketing teams.
SPRING HEALTH EDGE
Spring Health has used innovative design techniques to evolve an aspirational, high volume, low cost, high margin, and high touch model. Recognizing that safe drinking water requires behavioral change, so Spring Health invests significantly in a proven behavior altering marketing blitz model, as it builds the physical infrastructure. It creates a visible “buzz” and uses entertainment and participatory door-to-door campaigning coupled with a unique water testing initiative that allows it to swiftly ramp up to target volumes. Spring Health uses multiple tangible, connections to retain and habituate customers to switch to safe drinking water practices.
The roll out of each new village is modular with a 68 member team that scouts, builds, and launches in modules of 25 villages per month. By increasing the number of rollout teams it can scale quickly to launching 125 kiosks per month in each geographic market. The relatively high margin provides a viable path to scale, while still providing water at an affordable Rs. 4 (need to correct the formatting here)(7 cents US) for 10 liters of water delivered to the home. Spring Health’s own staff members are in every village in its system every 3rd day providing contact with end customers and monitoring quality both at the dispensing and consumption points.
Spring Health has evolved into a learning organization that is constantly innovating its behavior change methods, validating improvements through rapid prototyping and then swiftly implementing them.
Spring Health delivers safe affordable drinking water to over 150,000 customers in 260 villages throughout Odisha, India.
- Reach – Spring Health provides water to the poorest populations as well as to the rural middle class. 54% of our customers are lower castes and minorities with household income of Rs. 3,600 to 12,000 per month.
- Income generation and Entrepreneurship –Spring Health has increased the income of its local entrepreneurs by over 50%.
- Employment and Job Creation– Spring Health creates attractive employment for entrepreneurs, each using autorickshaws for water delivery and then able to use that vehicle for additional income such as taxis.
- Health Impact –Reduction of stomach ailments is estimated at 29% among all Spring Health customers and 41% among Platinum customers who now account for 33% of our customer base.
- Environmental Impact –Zero effluent generated, no waste of water.
- Impact to date –Spring Health has provided daily affordable clean water to over 150,000 people in 260 villages.
- Projected Impact –With the help of its investors, Spring Health plans to have a positive impact on the health and livelihoods of over 5million people in five years.
Dr. Paul Polak
Paul, a physician by training, is Founder of the Colorado-based non-profit International Development Enterprises (IDE), co-founder of Windhorse International, and author of two leading books on ending poverty, Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail and The Business Solution to Poverty. In 2009 The Atlantic Monthly named Dr. Polak one of the world’s Twenty-five “Brave Thinkers” along with Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, and Steve Jobs. In 2004, Paul received the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in the social responsibility category.
Jacob is a product designer by training and is Co-Founder of Idiom Design and Consulting Ltd, one of India’s largest design consulting firms. He is a serial entrepreneur having co-founded diverse businesses from consulting to manufacturing and retail. Jacob is currently CEO of Industree Foundation, Industree Skills Transform Pvt Ltd and also leads impact
Enterprise incubator, IMPACT EDGE and was interim CEO of Spring Health.
Kishan Nanavati, CEO – Kishan built and last led a team managing 25,000 telecommunication retail stores with Uninor in Karnataka. He previously worked with Reliance Communication and Tata Teleservices in the mobile communication space, and he has also worked for a Windmill company and in Education and training with NIIT.
Narious Das, MIS, IT and Processes –Narious has worked in several Telecom companies including Aircel and Tata teleservices before coming to Spring Health.
Pabitra Nayak, Manager Roll out. Pabitra is a direct hire from the presitigious Xavier Institute of mangement Bhubaneswar. Pabitra worked in Spring health first as a summere intern, then management trainee, before he joined us full time over a year ago. Pabitra manages the 25 village a month rollout .Spring Health manages a talent pipeline from summer placements, to internships, through to employment with the Xavier Institute of Management.
Ramesh Suthar, Manager Finance, Ramesh comes with 6 years of experience working with fertilizer companies and the mining industry with a senior accounts role.
Jyoti Prakash Misra, Senior Manger Sales, He has a total experience of 16 years in various industries like insurance, Fast moving Consumer Goods, Cement industry & Logistics.