CHARLESTON, S.C., February 14, 2024 — In late October, the Global Water Center (GWC) was awarded a grant of $349,939 from The Coca-Cola Foundation to support the Solar Pumping Technical Assistance program in Karnataka, India. The project will train approximately 300 to 500 government engineers and consultants from the Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Department (RDWSD) of Karnataka, India, in the sustainable design and management of Solar-Powered Water Systems (SPWS).

“Thanks to the generosity of The Coca-Cola Foundation, this training project will provide the government engineers the knowledge base they need to evaluate and design Solar Powered Pumping Systems that can be a viable option for providing the population of Karnataka with safe water,” said Dr. George Greene III, Executive Chairman of the Global Water Center. “The individuals participating in the training will be well-equipped to select appropriate locations for SPWS, and to design systems that comply with international design and performance standards. The individuals will also be connected to industry and partners who can provide ongoing support for successful SPWS implementation. We look forward to helping the government engineers obtain the knowledge and skills needed to provide the people of Karnataka sustainable access to safe water.”

Currently, 16.4 million people in Karnataka’s rural population still lack access to a safe and reliable household tap connection. The funding will be used to help the sixth largest state in India have safe and reliable water by providing training and ongoing technical support in SPWS to the state’s government, which has been working aggressively to improve access to safe water and sanitation. In addition to SPWS, the training will include a focus on groundwater management to emphasize the importance of designing systems that do not deplete this resource.

Typical rural water schemes in Karnataka, powered by electricity, provide users with water for 4-12 hours per day. The use of SPWS will support the goal of 24/7 continuous water supply, as it will supplement, and at times replace, the unreliable access to electricity from the grid. This will have several positive impacts, including a reduction in microbial contamination associated with water storage at the point of use, and a corresponding decrease in water-borne diseases associated with the water supply. Additionally, the move toward SPWS will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in Karnataka. According to the World Bank, GHGs associated with the energy usage by water pumps is estimated at 35,531 tons of CO2 annually. SPWS will reduce the reliance on electricity from the grid and improve systems’ financial sustainability, which is at risk due to the high cost of electricity associated with water provision and the resulting increase in the number of electric bills that are not paid. Investment in SPWS will reduce, and in some instances eliminate the costs associated with electricity.

At Global Water Center, we recognize firsthand the need for 2.2 billion people to access clean water. We believe The Coca-Cola Foundation’s grant will greatly aid Karnataka and accelerate the end of water poverty.

About Global Water Center

Global Water Center, in collaboration with Water Mission, CAWST, and UNICEF, has trained water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) professionals in over 67 countries in solar-powered water systems. The purpose of GWC is to serve the global WASH community to rapidly scale the world’s effort to bring safe water to everyone in need. Through collective action, training, and technical support, GWC drives accountability and adherence to standards, ensuring access to safe water for millions of people in low- and middle-income countries.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation’s mission is to make a difference in communities around the world where The Coca-Cola Company operates and where our employees live and work. We support transformative ideas and institutions that address complex global challenges and that leave a measurable and lasting impact. Our giving is focused on sustainable access to safe water, climate resilience and disaster risk preparedness and response, circular economy, economic empowerment, and causes impacting our hometown community. Since its inception in 1984, The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded grants of over $1.5 billion in service of its mandate to strengthen communities across the world.