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Every year, one million people die around the world as a result of sanitation and hygiene-related diseases.
The common denominator among most of these afflictions is water – essential for life and yet deadly when its quality is compromised. Not only does unsanitary water bear a huge health burden in the way of rising global mortality rates and the spread of infectious disease, it comes with a significant economic cost as well. Water.org estimates that $260 billion is lost every year due to lack of access to basic water and sanitation.
While this is a struggle that disproportionately afflicts the developing world, the UK – perhaps surprisingly – is no stranger to water quality issues. According to a recent report from The Environment Agency, none of the 4,600 waterways in the UK met required standards. In fact, in 2019, Southern Water was fined £120 million for lack of transparency around water quality.
This is what inspired UK startup WATR to develop its patented technology capable of monitoring the quality of any body of water, even in the most remote locations. WATR’s first device is both low-cost and easy to deploy. It’s also solar powered, making it more accessible than the majority of devices of its kind for communities around the world with limited access to reliable power sources. WATR’s multi-parameter solution communicates live data 24 hours a day, sending notifications to advise users of water quality issues, and giving them the time and knowledge to intervene. All this data is accessible by customers through in-app or via their web portal.
WATR’s USP lies in its ability to enable users to monitor water quality without physically checking with a handheld probe and manually recording readings, as most other low-cost solutions on the market require. WATR has filed and granted patents in Hong Kong and the EU, with a further patent pending in the UK, USA and Worldwide. The water industry tends to use either manual low-cost solutions or very high end expensive solutions.
The use cases are plentiful, including reservoir water quality, drinking water quality management, fish farm monitoring, industrial pollution warning, bathing water quality monitoring and more. WATR’s device is production-ready and has been successfully installed at 12 of these sites already. The proceeds from this crowdfunding round – which is already over 90% funded – will support the startup to manufacture and assemble an additional 500 devices. It will also fuel the development for three further products for application in various other use cases.
With Covid-19 putting lives around the world at risk, access to safe water is crucial for improved health and to help prevent the spread of infectious disease, now more than ever.
To support WATR in their mission to solve the global sanitation crisis, visit the pitch now.