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WaterHealth International in India: crafting sustainable solutions for potable water

Hristina Kostadinova Dzharova (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)
Sudheer Gupta (Beedie School of Business, Jack Austin Centre for Asia-Pacific Business Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)
Jai Ganesh (Business Technology Innovation and Services Science, Mphasis, Bangalore, India)

Publication date: 5 May 2016



The case features WaterHealth International India (WHIN) – a subsidiary of WaterHealth International (WHI) Inc. WHIN was launched in 2006 with the vision to “be the leader in providing scalable, safe, and affordable water solutions to underserved populations through an innovative business model.” The company incorporated a Build-Operate-Transfer model with decentralized production and distribution. Following a successful pilot project, WHIN installed its WaterHealth Centers in 175 sites throughout rural India by 2009, and attracted a $15 million investment from the International Finance Corporation to further expand its operations in India. Mr Vikas Shah, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, is faced with the issue of assessing scalability and sustainability of the company's business model. He needs to examine and evaluate the company's value proposition, resources and capabilities, and decide how to generate economic value while maintaining a focus on its social vision. The latter entails an ability to create shared value for stakeholders as an important contributor toward the company's sustainability. Additionally, Mr Shah is evaluating alternative public-private partnerships in terms of their suitability for the Indian context and viability to drive profitability.

Research methodology

The case uses primary and secondary data, i.e. interviews with company representatives, company reports, presentations, and consulting papers.

Relevant courses and levels

The case is written for graduate (and advanced undergraduate) students that enroll in classes with a focus on emerging markets, sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Examples are courses in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (especially those that include one or more sessions on the social dimensions) as well as those in Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.



Dzharova, H.K., Gupta, S. and Ganesh, J. (2016), "WaterHealth International in India: crafting sustainable solutions for potable water", , Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 156-168.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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