Monday, April 18, 2016

INDIA - Water ATMs

"Can water ATMs solve India’s water crisis?" PBS NewsHour 4/13/2016


SUMMARY:  About 76 million Indians don’t have regular access to clean drinking water, the most of any country in the world.  But a new nationwide experiment aims to address the water crisis with “water ATMs,” machines that purify water on site and dispense it through prepaid card swipes, an idea that is gaining traction with the prime minister on down.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  India has the world’s largest number of people, about 76 million, without access to clean drinking water.  And that’s according to a report the international charity WaterAid released last month.

As special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports, an innovative solution to that problem is popping up across the country.

His report is part of our Breakthroughs series.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO (NewsHour):  The United Nations estimates that women in India spend a collective 150 million workdays every year just gathering water, water that’s increasingly scarce and polluted.

Now, in parts of the country, including this Delhi suburb, an experiment is under way.  It’s called a water ATM.  Customers purchase credit on a prepaid card, scan it at the tap, and out comes water that’s drawn from the ground and purified right at the site, using a technology called reverse osmosis.

Amit Mishra manages the Delhi facilities for a social business called Sarvajal, which hopes to use reinvest profits it makes to sustain these outlets over the long term.

This where the water gets purified.  It goes into the large tanks here storage?


FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  With charitable grants for the $30,000 of equipment and land given by the local government, Sarvajal can charge customers a fraction of the price of commercially bottled water, which most people here cannot afford.

Fetching water remains a mostly female chore.  It’s still self-service with heavy lifting.  But it’s a massive improvement over what most of Delhi’s poorer neighborhoods have.

WOMAN (through interpreter):  By 12:00?

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  We filmed their ordeal six years ago.

WOMAN (through interpreter):  By 4:00.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  The long wait for a municipal tanker truck that has no fixed schedule, the mad dash when it finally arrives.

The city’s middle class buys its way out of such chaos.  Jyoti Sharme lives in an apartment that’s hooked up to the city water supply, better off, but hardly well off.

Sound familiar?  Buy those BIG plastic water jugs that you fill form a water vending machine?

No comments: