Turning Interest Into Action
The FSM sector in India was almost non-existent. Services were provided by a smattering of small players, usually manual scavengers. The service provided was usually of low-quality, with little regard for worker safety. There was no or minimal oversight on part of the government. And where the sludge was treated(or dumped) – no one knew!
But, with the consistent presence of demand for FSM services and a push on part of the government to resolve the challenge of FSM, the opportunity appeared a good chance to:
a) Build and develop an early organisation to enter the nascent FSM sector
b) Professionalise the FSM sector
c) Impact the livelihood of sanitation workers
d) Deliver and accrue value for the delivery of high-quality services
An analysis of the challenges plaguing the sector and the opportunities it presented(both mentioned above) made it clear to the founders of Blue Water Company – Mr Stanzin Tsephel, and Mr Manas Rath, that there was space to develop a major FSM and wastewater utility in India; on the likes of Indah Water in Malaysia, or DC Water in the United States of America, a little far-fetched but definitely worth a try.
This is how The Blue Water Company was conceptualised. More than 5000 towns need FSM service!
BWC now builds and operates decentralized wastewater and faecal sludge treatment systems for large buildings, campuses and small towns to treat and re-use wastewater productivity for flushing, construction and industry, and also for landscaping, horticulture and urban agriculture—thereby addressing environmental pollution, health, water security and food security, and nutrition problems.
BWC started with the first Public-Private Partnership in FSM in India, at Leh. Which is also the highest Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant in Leh. The model was also the first integrated FSM contract – cesspool operations and faecal sludge treatment services provided by a single entity.
The PPP there is now being replicated around India in multiple iterations.