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WATSAN: WAT - Water, SAN - Sanitation

WATSAN

3. Good Health and Well-Being 6. Clean Water and Sanitation 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Overview

Watsan is a nanotechnology-based water purification solutions company that provides affordable, maintenance-free, electricity-free water purifiers and also offers turnkey solutions to make toilets faster without the use of sand and water, mason or cement.

Authors

Kashif Syed

Kashif Syed

prakrati sharma

prakrati sharma

Sahil Vadhwa

Sahil Vadhwa

Naman Soni

Naman Soni

siddharth mehta

siddharth mehta

Ayush Mishra

Ayush Mishra

School

Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management

Professor

Divya Singhal

Divya Singhal

Innovation

In India, less than half of the population has access to properly managed drinking water. Chemical contamination of water is found in 1.96 million homes, primarily due to fluoride and arsenic (UNICEF). Water purifiers remove these affluents from water but in the bargain degrade water of its natural mineral content and require a continuous electricity supply to be operational. About 70% of the population of India lives in rural and semi-urban areas, where people do not have total access to electricity and can not afford telectric purifiers. Another issue of rural India is open defecation. At least 15% of the total population in India and 22% of the rural population practice open defecation in the country.

Thus, with an aim to provide water and sanitary solutions to the rural population by manufacturing and distributing low-cost, yet effective electricity-free water filters to urban slums and rural families who can not afford other expensive options. This has already impacted more than 100,000 families with its product innovation.

Over the past decade, WATSAN has developed two innovative products that contribute to the achievement of UN SDG target 6.1: to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all and UN SDG target 6.2: to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation.

Purifiers: The innovation revolves around the use of a special filtering component, a nano-clay candle made from clay and sawdust. This candle has micropores that remove microbes, heavy metals, and carcinogenic pollutants from water. The purifier does not require electricity and operates solely on gravitational pull wherein water slowly gets filtered through the clay candle. Mr. Chandrasekaran Jayaraman adopted this technology from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT) and upgraded the candle using his material science expertise to address various issues related to regional water types. The purifiers are affordable and are maintenance-free, thus becoming the most viable option for the rural population.

Toilets: WATSAN has created an ergonomic toilet design that has been patented by Mr. Jayaraman. The design requires the use of discarded fiberglass mostly coming from the windmill industry and other sources. They have trained and empowered women in the making of the structures which can then easily be installed by the people on their own with minimal use of sand, water, and cement. This has helped the local woman by providing them with employment and financial stability.

Thus, working towards the UN SDG 6, while meeting other SDGs, Mr. Jayaraman has come up with a simplistic solution that can solve the problem of undrinkable water and open defecation from the country.


WATSAN: WAT - Water, SAN - Sanitation

Top (from left): WATSAN Terafil Water Filter, Arsenic Filter, Installation at a school (middle); Bottom: Clay candles in the purifier (Bottom left)

Inspiration

Mr. Jayaraman stated, "Around a decade ago, I visited more than 2000 villages across Tamil Nadu where I wanted to document the dilapidated temples. Whichever temple I wanted to document it take 2 to 3 days to complete the documentation, the villagers were avoiding me, they wanted me to go away from the village the very same day. Why because they don’t have pure water to drink themselves, what could they give to me. They don't have a toilet to defecate, I had to carry a bucket and walk along with them to the village shore to defecate or relive myself, and that struck me hard and I knew the path I needed to take. So, this made me start WATSAN, as the name indicates water and sanitization."

Challenges wave an opportunity and drive inspiration inside you to take on the most difficult challenge you ever faced. Mr. Chandrasekaran having an entrepreneurial spirit took it on himself to try and solve these problems. Thus, he reinvented the water purifier that was tailormade to address the regional problem. He also kept increasing the production of filters that were region-specific. For instance, where water was polluted by pesticides, a filter (arsenic filter) to clean water in that region was developed. His effort has been recognized and applauded by the awards he won at the national and international level from reputed institutions such as C.K Prahlad Award for Rural Innovation 2015, Royal Academy of London - Leadership in Innovation 2016, and Power of Ideas Award and Grant - by CIIE, I.I.M Ahmedabad, DST 2016 among many others.

Overall impact

For the last 18 years WATSAN been providing affordable and effective water purifiers to regional households and ensuring clean and safe drinking water which will reduce water-based diseases and have health benefits. Having ready-to-fit toilets has impacted a lot of lives in rural India by improving sanitation and reducing open defecation.

More than 3,50,000 rural households, more than 50,000 anganwadis (daycare), and schools all over India, BSF (Border Security Force, India) posts in Wagah and Kargil have WATSAN water purifiers installed. 20 schools in rural villages in TN have ready-to-fit toilets.

WATSAN’s CPO Natural Terafil®™ Water Filters do not use chemical substances for purification as they don't require energy and are electricity-free. They are not built with high-cost gadgets and devices, refills, molded bodies, or accessories. Hence, they are maintenance-free and are affordable. Along with this, as a landfill saving measure, WATSAN reuses the rejected glass fiber waste dumped by gigantic windmill edge producers and attempt to save mother earth and cut down the expenses of building latrines too. This in the long run will save energy usage and promote sustainability to a greater extent. Long-term effects include reducing energy consumption and fulfilling more sustainable development goals.

Business benefit

Innovation is vital for any business to thrive and grow in this competitive world. Innovation helps in increasing the productivity, profit, and sales volume of the business.

WATSAN was started with a mere INR 1,50,000, which Mr. Jayaraman himself invested in the venture. As the business picked up and sales started rolling in due to its product appeal, he reinvested all that he earns back into the business for R&D. WATSAN has successfully launched a series of water purifiers adding more variants in a product line to keep itself relevant to customer demands. WATSAN's product lines include arsenic removal Terafil water purifier, fluoride removal Terafil water purifier, reusable sterilizable face shields, SS natural water filter, and standalone natural Terafil water purifier. All these product types come up with no chemicals, zero maintenance, zero water wastage, and no electricity. These product characteristics combined with affordable pricing is paving towards a better future and WATSAN is the frontrunner in the future world with its dedication to producing the best product with added features every single time they launch their new product. The business has so far realized total revenue of 80 Million INR. Major clients of WATSAN include World Vision India, United Way, Hope Foundation, and Water.org, who directly purchase the purifiers from WATSAN and distribute them to the needy.

WATSAN maintains synergy between increasing quality and reducing prices. “Future will be very clear with WATSAN water purifiers."

WATSAN has crossed the country boundaries and is also running its pilot program in African countries like Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe wherein he sold around 1000 units of purifiers. They have also shipped 280 purifiers to Venice. This has increased the credibility of the product and also help WATSAN raise funding for its endeavors.

Social and environmental benefit

Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential for human health and well-being. The risk of developing the number of diseases is reduced when people have access to clean water and sanitation. Millions of people die each year as a result of diseases caused by a lack of safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. Poor sanitation and contaminated water account for about 20% of all occupational deaths.

Mr. Chandrasekaran understood that this picture would not alter until and until we, the people, took action. He thought that everyone in the country has a right to clean water and sanitation. He also believed that sustainability can only be achieved if action is taken, therefore he founded WATSAN in 2013 as a limited company with the sole purpose of delivering affordable, power-free purifiers and ready-to-use toilets constructed from recycled material from windmill farms. The material used for the purpose is discarded fiberglass that would have ended up in landfills polluting the environment. WATSAN trained more than 15 women in building these toilets and offered them jobs and an opportunity to support their families.

Keeping in mind all of the difficulties that a person can face, he designed affordable, electricity-free, and easy-to-use purifiers. He helped many tribal hamlets in Khammam forests and also have impacted more than 3.5 million households by providing them the right to clean water and proper sanitation.

Mr. Chandrasekaran also helped the residents of Chennai and Kerala during the floods, it provided 2000 Units for Rehabilitation during Chennai Floods and over 15000 units for flood relief without any upfront payment, the money was later crowdfunded.

Interview

Chandrasekaran Jayaraman, Director

Photo of interviewee

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WATSAN

WATSAN

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, IN

Business Website: http://www.watsan.in

Year Founded: 2013

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Watsan is a nanotechnology-based water purification solutions company founded in 2013. Watsan using Terafil technology has created a water purifier that is electricity-free, maintenance-free, affordable, long-lasting, and a sustainable alternative.

Watsan also provides sustainable sanitary solutions by empowering people to make their own toilets and by providing them with structural materials that are recycled from fiber-glass waste.