A social enterprise in India has begun using contactless cards to dispense clean drinking water.

Water charity Sarvajal – which in Sanskirt means "water for all" – has set up water tanks that work as ‘water ATMs’.

Each ATM has a touch screen which users can tap their prepaid card against. The system verifies the water is clean before releasing an amount determined by the card user.

The water ATMs contain sensors monitoring water pressure and filtration that are maintained by franchisees.

So far 35 water ATMs have been set up in the country, mostly in urban areas where clean water is most scarce. The charity plans to roll out a further 50 to Indian locations including poorer communities in Delhi.

Savajal said that the ATM method is designed to make sure that water is available 24 hours a day, rather than only when an employee is around to man the tanks.

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The company hopes that the convenience of the machines will see India’s poor willing to pay around one cent a litre for water rather than get it for free from the government.

Founded in 2008, Sarvajal now sells clean drinking water to more than 70,000 people in rural India.


Local residents use contactless cards to access the ‘Water ATM’

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