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Pure water to flow off ATMs

- Machines to work with smart cards

Bhubaneswar, July 11: The municipal corporation has come out with an idea to ensure safe drinking water for people in the city.

The citizens can now get purified water through water dispensers or water ATMs as they will be called. They can do so, using a digital smart card that also has a prepaid option. Though the price of the purified water has not been finalised, sources said that initially it was likely to cost 30 paise a litre. Users have to bring their own containers to collect water.

Initially, there will be 40 water ATMs and four purifying units in the city. Later, the numbers will go up according to demand. To get water from the ATMs, the users will have to obtain the card from the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation after paying an amount and then they can operate it through the machines.

Nodal officer on the water ATM project and deputy secretary of the civic body Subhransu Mishra said: “Water-borne diseases are affecting people’s health both in urban and rural areas. The water ATMs will ensure the supply of pure water.”

Gujarat-based company Sarvajal has been roped in for the ambitious project. The firm has an ample experience in this field. They provide pure water in New Delhi and Rajasthan. Initially, to make the project sustainable, the water will be priced low, and each user would be able to draw 20 litres of potable water from one ATM each day. The machines will have capacity to distribute 1,000 litres of water in an hour.

A senior corporation officer said: “Ensuring water quality is not possible in the public pipe water supply system, because there are several incidents of ruptured pipe lines and contamination. So this new concept will ensure safe water to the people in the city.”

Subhakanta Swain, an engineer with a construction company, said: “The supply of purified water through the water ATMs will definitely help citizens. It can help the tourists, students, professionals, office goers and even the poor and needy.”

College student Aiswarya Laxmi Parida said: “With the water ATMs around, getting safe water to drink will be easier.”

A corporation engineer said the installation of the water ATMs would take around two or three months. The water purifying plants would be so planned that each is able to refill water at the ATMs as easily as cash transferring agencies put refill cash in the ATMs managed by various banks.

The construction of each water ATM will cost around Rs 1.25 lakh, while each water-purifying plant will cost around Rs 3.4 lakh.