A vending machine supplying drinking water sounds like nothing extraordinary, right! If this machine charges just ₹ 1 (€0.125) for 10 litres of clean drinking water, it surely distinguishes itself as an extraordinary vending machine not running after your wallet but objective of providing service and gives us a reason to talk about it.
Water vending machines - or Any Time Water (ATW) machines - work like usual raw milk vending machines. You put a coin in and place your 10 litre jar and in matter of a minutes, you have clean drinking water in the jar.
After being placed in the rural and semi-urban areas of Karnataka, these ATWs have achieved a very positive report card from the local people. All it takes to get clean water is dropping a one-rupee coin into the vending machine which then uses reverse osmosis (RO) technology to purify the water.
These water kiosks or the water vending machines are very easy to operate and are all set to make their mark under the Karnataka Governments 'Neeru Bhagya' (drinking water benefit) scheme in 213 towns and 1000 villages.
The water is on par with the mineral water being sold by reputed water bottling companies and carries na added advantage of being reasonably priced. One unit of All Time Water has the potential to serve around 5,000 people.
Similar kinds of machines have also been installed in the desert state of India, Rajasthan in the region of Barmer, where the machines potentially produce 1,000 litres of product water per hour from the machines. Water from Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) contains 3,000 to 4,800 parts per million (ppm) of the dissolved solids (TDS), which the machine after filtration reduces it down to 60 to 80 ppm.
Each ATW unit, established in collaboration with village panchayats and run by communities on a cost-sharing basis, is estimated to cost about ₹ 10 lakh per unit, and would supply roughly 500,000 litres of purified drinking water.
Every developing country needs to invest in this kind of technology to provide its citizens with clean drinking water!!