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Concept and Relevance of Water-ATM


“Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”

Water atm

It has been confirmed that, now the relocated colonies of Delhi will be able to have safe and pure RO drinking water at much cheaper rates i.e. only 30 paisa per litre thereby preventing themselves from various diseases and also giving a tough competition to packaged drinking water suppliers because people now do not have to spend huge amount on drinking water. Delhi’s Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has given green signal for the water-ATMs as proposed by Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

The pilot project has been launched at Savda Ghevra (one of a relocated colony) in collaboration of DJB with Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB). A decentralised water treatment plant has been set up to extract the groundwater which is then  purified through reverse osmosis (RO) system and then provided to the people through 15 water-ATM kiosks. The residents of the colony are drawing one litre of water from 2 ATMs installed at the plant itself by paying 15 paise and from 13 other kiosks at the cost of 30 paise using smart cards which are called Sarvajal cards.

How it works

Water-ATMs are powered by solar energy and are linked to the main server through cloud computing. Every customer is provided with a smart card also known as Sarvajal card which is used to draw water from these water vending machines. The water vending machine or water-ATM reads the card using a sensor and shows the balance. The customer has to opt from three options 1 litre, 5 litres and 10 litres. By pressing the relevant button they can fill the water in their container and the machine will automatically reflects the deducted balance. At a time, a customer can draw upto 20 litres of water. The waste water after RO filtration is further used in agricultural activities.

These Sarvajal cards can again be recharged at the main treatment plant. There is a tanker of 500 litre capacity installed on the top of every water vending machine. Whenever the waters level reduces to 200 litres, a message is automatically sent to the main server following which they are again refilled.

The technology uses GSM, or Global System for Mobile communications. It helps to keep track of all the machines installed while sitting at the office. A software called Soochak informs of damage in any machine. For instance, if the percentage of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) crosses the permissible limit, the RO plant would automatically stop functioning and Soochak would alert the operator. The system is so sophisticated that it sends alert signals even if a pipe starts to rust.

How it began

The technological initiative, powered by solar energy, is changing the lives of many in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. All thanks to the corporate social responsibility of the charitable foundation of Piramal Group i.e. Piramal Foundation who has now won the tender floated by DJB for installing these water-ATMs in national capital.

This entrepreneurial venture has become great success without any government initiative to counterattack the problem of contaminated water.

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