We arrived at headquarters at 11am (the work day starts at 10a!) to be greeted by Priyanka, Sameer and the rest of the friendly staff at the Sarvajal offices in Ahmedabad. There are also two interns here – one from U-M's own Ross School of Business and another from Dartmouth.
After taking care of logistics – accommodation, transportation, etc. – We jumped right in to a presentation on Sarvajal’s business model and conversations about solutions for the RO brine.
We also got our first taste of Sarvajal water!
After meetings and a quick bite to eat we got a demonstration of the RO Machine (more on that later) and took a tour of the new water ATMs Sarvajal is piloting in Ahmedabad.
Most villages have less than 100 families and can’t really support their own RO machine. In order to get water to these villages, Sarvajal developed water ATMS using the same RFID (Radio Frequency Identify Device) technology they employed with the Soochak (more on that later). Customers purchase a prepaid RFID card, which debits the amount (at 30 paise per litre) they dispense from the machine in 5-, 10- and 20-liter quantities. The machine has displays for showing the balance on the card as well as the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) levels. We visited pilot installations in Tekra-a slum in Ahmedabad- to see the "Water ATMs" in action.