Mohan Ranbaore: An Inspiring Leader with a Robust Vision for the Future

Mohan Ranbaore

In many developing countries, governments struggle to reach people living in extreme poverty and bring them into the formal economy. But even in the toughest places, a special kind of entrepreneur is doing what governments often can’t. Waterlife, a for-profit social enterprise, uses technology to provide affordable drinking water to underserved populations in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Through a small grant and capacity building support from the World Bank, Waterlife scaled its model in the poorest states of India.” states Mr. Jim Kim, President – World Bank.
Waterlife India Pvt. Ltd. is changing the lives of millions of people across India through its Clean Drinking water interventions. Waterlife collaborates with corporates, state government agencies and local communities to set up community-level water treatment programs.
Mohan Ranbaore, Co-founder and Joint Managing Director set up Waterlife India back in the year 2008 along with co-founders Mr. Sudesh Menon and Mr. Indranil Das. As a business leader, he is responsible for developing & driving innovative solutions to achieve the vision of providing safe drinking water to all. Previously, he was heading the national sales function at Xerox.
Mohan states, “Alongwith my co-founders we discovered that we had a common passion for doing something good for the society and we built a business around it. We realized that there was a critical need to address the drinking water problem in India. We set up Waterlife in 2008 with a vision to providing affordable and sustainable safe water solutions to the underserved communities in rural and urban areas.”
Access to safe water is a critical issue. Safe water not just impacts the health parameters but given that it is so fundamental a need, it also impacts multiple other parameters like household expenses, productivity, educational outcomes, gender parity and many more. Clean water and sanitation has been defined as one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Hence, building corporate, government and community partnerships for overall community progress is in itself a great inspiration for Waterlife to keep moving forward towards its vision.
Waterlife provides innovative and sustainable clean water solutions. Their services and programs are designed to meet any water quality issue, be it in India or even in other quality affected regions globally.
Their most prominent service is the Smart Flagship Community Clean Drinking Water Program where they set up community level water purification plants. These plants can process upto 1000-3000 litres per hour and are typically set up as long term 10 year programs which can serve needs of an entire village or urban slum on a long term basis. The corporate/government funding helps set up the program while Waterlife charges an affordable user fee to take care of the long term management of the program and keep it self-sustaining.
 “Many corporates are working towards empowering communities through better health via their CSR agenda. We have partnered with many corporates from both the Public and Private sector such as Cairn India, Maruti Suzuki, BASF, GE, HPCL, HDFC Bank, to name a few. They have partnered with us not only because they believe in the vision of safe water, but also because they understand the value of our innovative and sustainable model.” says Mohan.
Technology at the Forefront of the Program
The Waterlife Community water plants are implemented using the top-of-the-line technology suited to local water conditions. They are technology agnostic so we have the flexibility to adapt the best technology for the required conditions.
Technology plays a significant role not just in the water treatment but also in water dispensing. Waterlife has a smart, automated swipe card based dispensing mechanism, which brings in immense convenience for the end user beneficiaries as well as provides them with the convenience of handling the revenue collections.
Waterlife also uses technology for monitoring to their plants. They have implemented a Fully Automated & Digitalized Treatment System & ATW control box feeding a central server wherein data of all plants is uploaded. This Remote Monitoring system allows them to digitally monitor the plant on a continual basis. Data related to key parameters are regularly sent to the central processing teams. This ensures that they are able to address issues, if any, in real time and also conduct high quality analysis of the impact of an intervention.
Some Innovative Elements Makes Waterlife Unique
Waterlife has incorporated many unique and innovative elements, which make their programs and plans better.
“Ours is a comprehensive, holistic program which goes beyond the primary promise of safe and affordable water. The guiding principal behind the entire program is to deliver high quality and build deep community engagement” says Mohan.
All the Waterlife treatment plants are made using green, sustainable technology. The program also incorporates many features that help them to build community trust and transparency around the program such as displaying monthly certified water test reports at the plant.
Other program value adds include rainwater harvesting incorporation and setting up community welfare funds to fuel holistic community development.
“We were mindful that we needed to develop a program which was replicable and scalable across all geographies. However, at the same time, it is also important to ensure the program builds in adaptability, flexibility and innovation. In India, while the issue of drinking water exists across the country, the local conditions, geography, water quality, cultural and political constraints differ from place to place. You have to be able to get around roadblocks and be flexible to adapt the program to local needs and conditions.” says Mohan.
Awards & Achievements
We have won global recognition for our pioneering work – we were one of only 10 companies globally and three companies from India, to win the G-20 award for Inclusive Business Innovation and have been recognized at various international events like The World Bank and USAID awards.”
“It also gives us immense satisfaction when we see that many of our projects done in partnership with corporates have been recognized at important forums – Cairn India was the recipient of the Petrotech Award and Maruti Suzuki, the CII-ITC Sustainability Award in December 2016”” says Mohan.
Future Aspects
Waterlife started their journey with a vision to provide access to safe water to all underserved communities across India. To work towards this vision, they are focusing on partnering with like-minded corporate partners to collaborate with and help rapidly increase the coverage of underserved communities.
Starting from one state in 2008, today Waterlife has its presence across 15 states in India with over 4500 solutions.
Now, we are in the growth phase so while we are thinking of bigger impact, we want to at the same time remain agile enough as we were at start-up phase to continuously adapt and deliver value to all our stakeholders.” says Mohan.
Source :-The 30 Most Admired Tech Leaders to Watch in 2018

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