WaterHealth International, Inc. (WHI), an innovator in providing water purification and disinfection systems worldwide, announced today the company has received $1.8 million in new funding, provided by International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, and Acumen Fund, a global non-profit venture fund. IFC provided a $1.2 million investment; Acumen Fund supplied $600,000. This new funding follows an earlier investment of $2 million by Plebys International, LLC.
WHI's novel and award-winning UV-based water purification and disinfection technology platform is modular and can be scaled to provide quality drinking water to a broad range of population groups. The company is currently focused on providing systems to deliver affordable water to urban populations and rural communities that lack access to municipal water supplies. WHI's decentralized systems require low capital expenditures and can be implemented quickly to meet the longstanding needs of undeserved populations.
Executive Officer of WaterHealth. "We strongly believe that market-driven application of state-of-the-art technologies can be the most appropriate and effective means of bridging the development gap in less-developed countries. We expect 2005 to be a breakthrough year in the provision of high-quality water in our immediate target markets of India, Ghana, and the Philippines. Over time, we expect to deploy WHI's technology platform in the U.S. and other developed markets."
WHI's technology has garnered numerous awards. Earlier this month, California's Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, awarded Dr. Ashok Gadgil the prestigious Affymatrix Health Award, as part of the Museum's annual Tech Museum Awards program. Dr. Gadgil is Vice President of Scientific Affairs of WaterHealth and inventor of the company's UV Waterworks technology.
"The demand for distributed, decentralized water treatment systems is growing rapidly in the developing world, while few business models have emerged to serve this demand. We believe WHI is well positioned to pursue this market based on a commercial model, thus helping address an environmental problem that has a direct public health benefit in the developing world," said Jeff Liebert, an investment officer in the Environmental Finance Group at the IFC.
It is estimated that more than one billion people worldwide lack a reliable source for clean drinking water. Water-borne pathogens kill up to four million children under age five annually, a rate of 400 per hour. Though studies show that investment in water purification and sanitation can reduce water-borne diseases by up to 75%, many countries simply cannot spare the resources required to build capital-intensive, centralized water treatment facilities and distribution networks for their peri-urban and rural areas.
WHI products are currently deployed in many countries around the world, including the U.S., Honduras, India, the Philippines and South Africa. Work is currently underway on the first of ten community water systems in rural Andhra Pradesh, India, while sites are also being evaluated for systems in West Africa. WHI is developing various other products based on its technology platform.