Image via DNAIndia
You probably know that India is home to over 1 billion people. And you probably also know that nearly 50% of those practise open defecation.
Infectious diseases are a result of poor hygiene practices, often because of lack of access to clean water. In 2010, the United Nations announced that the right to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right. But millions of people all over the country lack access to clean, potable water.
Solving a nation’s water crisis in a single day isn’t possible. However, there are several steps we can take in that direction. Example: the introduction of Water ATMs in the capital city, New Delhi.
What are Water ATMs?
As the name implies, a water ATM dispenses water. Think of it as a vending machine for clean and safe drinking water 24×7. The best part – these units run on solar energy. Additionally, these machines are powered by ultra-filtration units and Reverse Osmosis filters that further reduce the operational costs.
The Delhi Jal Board piloted water ATMs in partnership with the Piramal Foundation in 2014. Today, you can spot several water ATMs in various parts of the capital city.
Withdrawal can be made by using either cash or a smart “Sarva Jal” digital card issued by the Board. The cost of water from these machines is low- 25 paise per litre. Metro stations are a popular installation point because of the constant stream of travellers.
Water ATMS provide Delhi’s economically weaker sections (and thirsty travellers) with access to safe, clean drinking water at affordable prices. Also, these machines encourage users to carry refillable bottles, cutting down on the dependence on single-use plastic water bottles.
Water ATMs are taking off all over the country, with public-private-NGO collaborations (in various permutations and combinations) germinating and throwing up projects in areas like Moradabad, Berhampur (Orissa), Bangalore, and many other places.
I’ve heard many a dire prediction that the Third World War will be fought over water; well, we might just avoid that yet.