South African innovator I-Drop Water have revealed the Waterpod, the latest and most advanced water purification solution designed to offer a self-service drinking water refill solution for shoppers in all locations, at an affordable price. The Waterpod was unveiled at an office launch event in Craighall Park, Johannesburg, in partnership with Bluewater, the Swedish multinational technology and water purification company.
With the growing emphasis on alternatives to single-use plastic water bottles and sachets, the drinking water industry and large-scale retail are starting to embrace this alternative approach to the sale of safe drinking water. Since 2016, I-Drop Water has installed water purification and refill machines in over 100 retail outlets in five African countries, all of which has culminated in the development of the new Waterpod.
According to James Steere, Co-founder of I-Drop Water and Director of Bluewater’s African operations, “the Waterpod is a completely new and innovative way for affordable drinking water refills to be sold in retail environments across Africa and beyond. It is the result of almost four years of product development, testing and data that we’ve gathered from across the length and breadth of Africa.”
“The self-service purified drinking water refill industry is gaining traction around the world, primarily for the significant price and environmental benefits it offers to shoppers compared to bottled water”, said Steere. “In the United States, self-service drinking water refills are available at tens of thousands of grocery stores. However, to date, water refill options in Africa have typically only been available through small dispensers in offices or gyms, or costly, semi-industrial purification machinery in kiosks and stand-alone water franchise shops. The Waterpod provides an opportunity to open up the entire market by offering the benefits of a small, compact water refill machine with the high-spec purification power of much larger systems, all designed to deliver a great user refill experience for sizes between 1 litre and 25 litres, even in the most complex African water environments.”
How the Waterpod works
“What we know from our work across Africa is that water conditions vary far more than anyone could imagine. One part of Johannesburg can have a completely different water composition, pressure and reliability of supply to a neighboring suburb”, says Steere.
“The compact and versatile Waterpod represents a step-change in this industry by delivering the optimal purification for a specific water environment by combining the necessary technologies ideal for each site in less than one square meter of floor space. Cost savings are passed to the shopper through a lower price of up to 90% less than bottled water, and to the shop owner through a high gross profit on a per-litre sale. All of this is monitored in a real time GSM “internet of things” platform that we’ve developed specifically for this application.”
Bluewater Investment in I-Drop Water
The development of the Waterpod has been boosted by investment from Bluewater, who have partnered with I-Drop Water to introduce Bluewater’s groundbreaking SuperiorOsmosis™ water purification technology to the African market. The “Bluewater Pro” is designed for direct consumer application and is a powerhouse point-of-use water purifier that helps both professional environments and homes create their own supply of pure drinking water from municipal or borehole sources.
The partnership between Bluewater and I-Drop Water has also given rise to the development of the Bluewater Trailer, a mobile solution for pure drinking water on location and used by large-scale events and with applications in the film, mining and construction industries, where location-based water purification is required.
“This exciting new tech rollout is another step towards meeting the challenges of a water-stressed Southern African region and indeed the world,” said Anders Jacobson, President of Bluewater. “This innovation embodies our partnership mantra of ‘Swedish ingenuity meets African innovation’ and is a unique offering aimed at reaching a market of over 2 billion people around the world who still risk their health every day by drinking unsafe water. We are excited to be on this journey with I-Drop Water and look forward to further sharing Bluewater’s unique technology and products throughout the African continent,” said Jacobson.