More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Of all such deaths, 99 percent occur in the developing world and children are the major victims. Of the 60 million people added to the world's towns and cities every year, most move to slums with no sanitation facilities. Thus, the people who have the least paying capacity end up paying the most for basic amenities. In water, the associated costs in the form of medical bills, loss of jobs (in case of prolonged illness) etc further promote poverty. Swajal surveys show that people are forced to drink bad water or less water than is optimally required by body.
A Swajal centre contains a water purification unit with a pay-as-you-go model for people who cannot afford to purchase water purification systems of their own. It is equipped with an RFID sensor for smart cards and optional coin accepting machines to pay for water. A Swajal system has an in-built water chilling function as an option. Swajal machines can communicate with central servers through a GSM card to maintain its quality and monitor its usage. A Swajal system is designed to be powered by solar for broader reach. The Swajal system has been designed to be as much as 60% more efficient in energy usage compared to standard house-hold reverse osmosis (RO) systems. While each Swajal station is engineered to specific input water quality, up to nine stage filtration system is used to deliver WHO standard pure drinking water.
The target audience of Swajal is people who are in the lower middle to low income segment. The Swajal centres are run by local people. Swajal provides local employment and business to small entrepreneurs thus infusing capital back into the local ecosystem. The viability of Swajal stations has been demonstrated through seven pilots located in urban slums in Gurgaon and Uttar Pradesh (UP). There has been quick transition of people accepting Swajal. Swajal impacts triple bottom line by being low carbon, environmentally friendly, socially relevant for-profit venture.