BASF and NMMC collaborate on safe water and sanitation project in Navi Mumbai

August 2, 2018

Raman Ramachandran (left), Managing Director of BASF India Limited and Head South Asia, along with other dignitaries presenting the first water can to beneficiaries at NMMC School No. 22 in Turbhe under the BASF Landmark Project.

Over 10,000 citizens from Turbhe Store, a suburb of Navi Mumbai, will now have access to clean and affordable drinking water through the “Landmark Project”, a water and sanitation initiative by BASF, with the support of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC). The concept for the Landmark Project was first developed through a series of social dialog sessions in Mumbai during BASF’s 150th anniversary activities in 2015, and has now come to fruition in an innovative, community-based social business model.

In the first phase of the Landmark Project, a rainwater harvesting plant and a smartcard based community water treatment plant, commonly referred to as a “water ATM”, were introduced in Navi Mumbai by the Honorable NMMC Mayor Jayawant Dattatray Sutar, along with Dr. N. Ramaswami, Commissioner, NMMC and Dr. Raman Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India and Head, BASF South Asia, as well as other dignitaries from BASF and NMMC.

The Landmark Project was set up by BASF on land provided by NMMC, and after two years will be handed over, to be owned and operated by a local community-based organization. It represents a holistic approach to water and sanitation. The solar powered, cashless water ATM will dispense potable drinking water at just Rs. 8 per 20 liters when accessed with a debit card. Uniquely, water is harvested from rain and other sources, and is purified using innovative technologies including an ultrafiltration solution from BASF. The facilities are located at Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Vidyalaya School No. 22, Turbhe Store. Creating a revenue stream from the water ATM will help ensure its long-term viability, ensuring continuing funds for maintenance of the water ATM and rainwater harvesting system.

Jaywant Dattatray Sutar, Mayor of NMMC, cutting the ribbon to unveil the Water ATM in Navi Mumbai.

Jayawant Dattatray Sutar, Honorable NMMC Mayor said, “As a planned urban center, Navi Mumbai has seen tremendous growth in the last few years and it is our duty to offer holistic and sustainable services that elevate living standards of our citizens. I am very happy to see this joint effort between the NMMC and BASF, which will offer clean drinking water to the residents of Turbhe Store.”

Dr. Ramaswami N. (IAS), NMMC Commissioner said, “This project is a great example of how innovative chemistry can enable simple and cost-effective technologies to offer clean water and sanitation facilities. We are glad that companies like BASF are taking the lead in providing solutions and encouraging such partnerships.”

Dr. Raman Ramachandran, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India Limited and Head, BASF South Asia said, “Clean drinking water can consume almost 15% of the income of Mumbai slum residents, meaning that they must often rely on an unsafe water supply. Thanks to the critical support of NMMC, this project can now offer access to affordable, clean drinking water. This is a good example of how we ‘create chemistry’ to develop sustainable business models and communities.”

Students and community representatives enjoy water from the Water ATM.

inge®, BASF’s brand of ultrafiltration membranes, utilizes patented and highly robust Multibore® fibers made from PESm – a modified Polyethersulfone – in an In-to-Out filtration process. Extremely tiny pores of only 20 nanometers diameter inside the membranes provide a secure barrier against suspended solids, viruses and other microorganisms and let only pure water pass.

Under its next phase, the Landmark Project will integrate community management for safe and affordable sanitation with the refurbishment of existing public toilet near the school, as well as the establishment of a project for women’s hygiene near the toilet.

The Landmark Project is being implemented in cooperation with a group of expert partners. WaterLife India designed and constructed the water ATM and will run it for 10 years using BASF ultrafiltration technologies, while STEP, an organization which provides environmental engineering expertise, is the implementation partner for the overall project.