Taps that don’t go dry: This summer, water ATMs to the rescue
By Banasree Purkayastha
Every summer as temperatures across the plains of India cross the 40-degree Celcius mark, and throats go dry both in rural and urban India, the hunt for safe drinking water begins in earnest. A number of start-ups have entered this segment, providing an alternative to expensive packaged water, with a little help from technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and solar power. Their mobile water dispensing systems, or water ATMs as they are popularly called, are proving to be a cost-effective alternative, bringing drinking water to places which have traditionally been bereft of reliable, safe drinking water.
Swajal Water is one such social enterprise that has set up about 400 water ATMs across 14 states in India including UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, providing clean drinking water to urban slums, villages and high floating population areas at a low cost. “While IoT helps us to remotely monitor and manage each machine, the usage of RFID cards,makes the water vending streamlined by taking input from the user of the amount of water needed. These RFID cards are rechargeable. The water ATMs run on solar in regions where lack of electricity is a problem,” says Vibha Tripathi, founder and managing director, Swajal.
Photo courtesy of Ron Kroetz.