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Cape Town is on the verge of becoming a city without clean running water. Residents are trying to conserve as much water as they can to make the most of the city’s remaining supplies, and the government is trying its last measures to stave off the crisis.
As we work together to help South Africa, we also need to ask: How can we create sustainable urban solutions for producing clean water to help stop cities like Cape Town from ever reaching this crisis point?
That’s where a solution like UNTAPPED can come into play.
“Our focus is on deploying and managing decentralized water treatment infrastructure,” said Jim Chu, Chief Executive Officer of UNTAPPED.
UNTAPPED works to build local, solar-powered water treatment facilities. Each facility can produce 20,000 to 30,000 liters of water each day for a community.
Once they produce it, UNTAPPED distributes the water to small retailers in the community via last mile delivery systems on bikes or scooters. By paying attention to data and IT, they create an efficient supply chain that reduces the cost of storage by delivering water right when customers need it.
In short, UNTAPPED focuses on producing clean and reliable water by working with local businesses to get the water to the local community.
And after each water distribution system is set up, UNTAPPED can focus on expanding to nutrition with distribution of powdered milk, toilet paper, or soap. They already built trust from the community, and that helps them to expand their supply chain to other needs.
UNTAPPED continues to successfully run their pilot in Haiti. They reached a community of over 300,000 people with nine water product sites and 500 sales points. Today, each is cash positive or cash flow positive.
“The big question?” asked Jim. “How do we actually scale beyond what we have in Haiti and go across borders to the next billion consumers?”
How will they reach those consumers and help cities like Cape Town? Watch Jim pitch UNTAPPED at the Solve Challenge Finals in September before becoming a Solver as they work to answer this question:
Interested in partnering with UNTAPPED as they scale for global impact? Solve wants to hear from you. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Chu pitches UNTAPPED at the Solve Challenge Finals in the Sustainable Urban Communities Challenge, September 17, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Stuart / MIT Solve)