Summers have begun and nothing refreshes more than a chilled glass of water on a hot, humid day amidst the dusty Indian roads. Of course you can have it through numerous street shops in India, but if you are lucky to be in Hyderabad this summer, you can grab one for Re 1; thanks to the water ATMs to be launched in the city very soon.
Kiosks in Hyderabad will soon start selling potable chilled water similar to the cash dispensing ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) offered by the banks. This innovative proposal was placed in the review meeting of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board last week. The Board proposed selling of one litre chilled water for Re 1 through automated Kiosks.
The Board also proposed to involve women self help groups to spread awareness regarding water conservation and misuse, as well as to collect water dues from the age old defaulters. They will be also engaged in monitoring the free tankers delivering water. The city is experiencing depleted ground water resources and has to depend heavily on the water imported from afar-Nagarjunasagar and Yellampally (110 km and 186 km away from Hyderabad).
A 100 day action plan is also set up to build 1,000 rainwater harvesting system and the officials were directed to change the domestic connections to commercial ones in a horde of commercial establishments including hotels, lodges and hostels; the crackdown to start from Sanjeevareddy Nagar.
Water ATMs are however not new to this country. It all started in the year 2015 in a small village called Borze in Maharashtra. This village is located in Pen Taluka of Raigad district that is famous for severe water scarcity. After the local Politian as well as the State Government constantly failed to deliver clean water to the village, the villagers stopped waiting for the favour coming from the government and tied up with private companies instead. This initiative paved the way for the innovative water ATM to the village, commonly known as the ATW or Any Time Water.
This is indeed a fascinating instance where the Local Gram Panchayat opts for the hi-tech option to solve the age old problem of the village so effectively. The village even distributed over 400 hundred ATW cards to the villagers (electromagnetic cards similar to regular ATM cards) that can be used to get 20 litres of water costing merely Rs 10. The best part of water coming from ATW is not the small price tag, but the potable quality and assurance, unlike the erratic and bad water quality supplied through the common Government tap supplies.
The water supplies of ATWs in Borze come through a water treatment plant set by the company beside a village pond. Moreover, 20% of the revenues earned by the company is given back to the Gram Panchayat to carry forward other developmental works in the village. So, in a way this is going perfectly for both the villagers and the company. Hope we will see more such innovative ventures in different parts of this country in solving daily issues of general public.
This article was first published in KenFolios - Only interesting stories.