Clean water and fresh opportunities for women entrepreneurs

Case study

Official opening ceremony of one of the 25 water ATMs installed across Nagpur, run by women in the community

Access to clean drinking water can transform communities. In fact universal, affordable access to what is known as WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – is a critical public health issue and the focus of UN Sustainable Development Goal 6.

As a business that relies on water, we have a clear responsibility to contribute – and our Water of Life programme has reached more than 10 million people in India and Africa since 2006. But we also see providing access to clean water as an opportunity to broaden our positive social impact in other ways too.

Across India, for example, we have been supporting an innovative programme to install ‘water ATMs’. Inspired by cash-vending machines, water ATMs enable people to buy clean, low-cost drinking water, typically provided by a solar-powered borehole and treatment plant. Our 25 ATMs in Nagpur alone have given 45,000 people access to water this year.

And the ATMs create further benefits. In Nagpur and Bhopal, we have trained 287 women entrepreneurs so they can maintain and run the facilities – increasing their incomes, while ensuring the ATMs are at the heart of their communities. For more details of our focus on skills training, gender equality and WASH, see pages 50-51 of our Annual Report.