Grameen-Veolia Water Ltd inaugurates it’s first water treatment plant for the villagers of Bangladesh, in Goalmari.
Fresh water is abundant in Bangladesh, in the form of numerous groundwater resources that are shallow and easy to exploit. However, for essentially geological reasons, almost all of the groundwater is contaminated with arsenic, very often at levels that make it a health hazard. At the beginning of the 1990s, hospitals in Bangladesh started reporting an alarming increase in the number of cases of arsenicosis. Today, 30 million Bangladeshis have fallen victim to chronic arsenic poisoning and some have even died.
Social business solution:
Against this background, Grameen and Veolia Water have decided to join forces and combine their complementary skills to make clean and safe water accessible to villagers in the poorest parts of Bangladesh.
According to the precepts of social business, whereby there are “neither losses nor dividends,” this investment will be paid for by water charges levied on consumers, which will in turn enable similar projects to be started elsewhere. The equipment will be manufactured locally on the basis of know-how transferred by Veolia Water. Grameen Bank’s extensive network will enable charges to be collected by appropriate means. About ten jobs will be created in each of the villages involved.
The first plant was inaugurated in late 2009, bringing safe water suitable for drinking and cooking to the 40,000 inhabitants of Goalmari, a village 100km east of Dhaka and its surrounding areas. A specific distribution network was installed on the basis of a detailed survey of user requirements and will include standpipes, small storage tanks and collective connections. Therefore Grameen Veolia Water Ltd. contributes to the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to end poverty.
Grameen Veolia Water Ltd’s task is to build and operate several water production and treatment plants in some of the poorest villages in the center and south of Bangladesh. All in all, 100,000 people in around 5 villages will be served by this initiative for a total investment of EUR 500,000.