Grameen Veolia runs a world class water treatment plant that produces water in line with the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI) and World Health Organization (WHO) standards. The water is distributed through a network of standpipes to 7000 villagers at an affordable rate.

Grameen Veolia Water Ltd operates and maintains a water treatment plant that provides safe drinking water to nearly 7000 people in the villages of Goalmari Union and Padua Union, where the groundwater is naturally contaminated by arsenic. Grameen Veolia Water Ltd. distributes drinking water through a 13 km network of standpipes with 55 tap points being set up in different locations in the villages.
At each of these taps, a lady dealer is in charge of selling the treated water at the rate of Bangladeshi Taka 2,5 (approximately USD 0,03) per 10 liters.
Over the years, households who could afford it asked Grameen Veolia Water Ltd. to get a private connection in their homes. Today, 90 House connections are delivering the water to these families. Grameen Veolia Water Ltd. is also serving two schools in Goalmari and building awareness programs with the teachers.

Water production and distribution at Goalmari

Water is drawn from the nearby Meghna River, it is then filtered twice, first using a sand filter and then using an activated carbon filter, before it is chlorinated to ensure it meets strict WHO standards. Grameen Veolia Water trained Bangladeshi engineers to build the water treatment plant.


In 2010, the water treatment plant was able to produce more than enough drinking water to meet demand in Goalmari and Padua. Professor Yunus suggested that in order to increase the company’s profitability, additional water could be sold in urban areas. Profits generated from this new branch of the social business would be invested in rural infrastructure, such as network extension and new tap points. After analysing the water distribution market in Dhaka City, GVW decided to launch its 20L ‘Jar Business’. The water sold is produced in the same water treatment plant, as well as in another production site in Dhaka. It then undergoes an additional process for conservation purposes. This water is tested on a daily basis by GVW chemists in our own laboratory, and in trusted external laboratories in Bangladesh (ICDDR,B, BUET). The drinking water is delivered every day to about 300 customers including offices, universities and embassies. The customers of the Jar Business enjoy one of the highest quality of drinking water available in Bangladesh.

How it all began

In April 2008 on a trip to Paris, Muhammad Yunus signed the formal agreement between Grameen Healthcare and Veolia Eau to build the water treatment plant. Just three months after this agreement was signed, construction work began. The plant was up and running in April of the following year and the network of taps became operational in November of the same year, after the monsoon season. Antoine Frérot, CEO of Veolia Environnement explains why the project got off the ground so quickly: "We decided to get started as quickly as possible rather than spending months studying financial questions and designs for the plant. We found a site, bought the land and got to work straight away, learning as we went along. The small scale of the project made this approach possible, because the initial investment was relatively modest. Instead of investing a lot of money in building huge facilities we weren’t sure would succeed, we took the decision to start small. This project is a Research-Action project, we’re working hand in hand with local people project and investing in our knowledge."


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