Wasa set up the first water ATM in Fakirapool with the financial support of Denmark-based Grundfos on August 6, 2016
In Dhaka, one has to spend at least Tk15 for a bottle of drinking water. Yet, unknown to many, Wasa has set up a number of ATM booths that dispense drinking water at a cost of Tk0.4 per litre.
There are about 100 such booths across the capital in areas including: Fakirapool, Basabo, Mugda, Banasree, Matuail, and Rampura. Dhaka Wasa has developed this to supply pure water – with the financial assistance of US-based Drinkwell.
“We have signed an agreement with Drinkwell to install 300 such ATM booths in Dhaka by September 2019,” said Md Year Khan, project director of ATM water supply and executive engineer of Dwasa. Wasa set up the first water ATM in Fakirapool with the financial support of Denmark-based Grundfos on August 6, 2016. At that time, Wasa also installed another booth at Mugda pump 2 compound near the stadium at Kamalapur.
‘Pure and safe’
Md Sujon, an operator at Fakirapool's ATM booth, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Each litre of water is sold at 40 paisa. Every day, we usually sell 6,000-8,000 litres of water from this booth.”
The booth is open seven days a week. Customers can collect water from 6am to 10pm every day, with a small break at 2pm.
Drinkwell CEO Minhaj Chowdhury said after water is drawn from the depths of the ground, iron and manganese are removed from it. Then, the water is passed under an ultraviolet ray—to kill micro organisms.
Purana Paltan resident Md Alamin was at the ATM to collect water for his house. “This water is pure and safe. We can drink it without boiling or further purification,” he said.
The water Wasa supplies needs to be filtered and purified before use, and sometimes it tastes bad, another customer Mizanur Rahman said. “Now we can drink pure water without any bad smell or extra hassles.” Wasa officials say the ATM booths at Banasree are providing water for free, on an experimental basis which began last month, while a booth is under construction at Rampura.
Manik Adhikari, in-charge of managing the water booth at Banasree, said they have been providing water, for free, since June 6.
“We will continue to provide free water for a few more days before issuing cards to customers,” he added.
How to use water ATMs
One has to first collect a card from the booth’s operator with a refundable deposit of Tk200. Water will start flowing once the card is inserted and stop when the card is pulled out.
Anyone can get this card with a copy of the national ID card and two photos. The card holder will have to recharge Tk100 at a time. After this money is used, the account has to be recharged again with the same amount of money.