Dispensing drinking water at affordable rate | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:11 AM, January 01, 2020

Dispensing drinking water at affordable rate

Wasa to launch card-operated vending machines in Ctg today

Good news for port city residents!

To provide drinking water at a low price, Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) is launching a water ATM in port city today.

People can buy drinking water at Tk 0.60 per litre through the service -- much cheaper than bottled water, sold at Tk 15-20 per litre (bottle) at stores.

Hailing the initiative, city dwellers said this service would help them get much-needed drinking water at a cheaper rate.

“I often buy water from shops and a litre costs around Tk 20. This automated water vending machine service would be a nice way to start the New Year,” said Sajib Das, a private job holder in Khulshi area.

Shahedul Azam, a resident of Patenga, said Wasa did not supply water in his area. “There is a problem of salinity and iron in the tubewell water and so we have to buy jar water for drinking, which costs Tk 5 per litre,” he said. “If water ATM is set up in Patenga, we will be able to get safe and affordable water.”

Wasa officials said initially the service will start from Khulshi Road 1 and it will be expanded to three more spots -- Halishahar Nayabazar, Agrabad Badamtoli and Sadarghat Saheb Bazar -- within a month. The number of booths will be increased to 100 by this year.

To this end, Chattogram Wasa signed an agreement with a US-based company “Drinkwell”. The company has set up a Water ATM at Khulshi Road 1 inside a Wasa pump station.

Visiting the area yesterday, it was seen that the booth had two outlets, where two persons can avail the service simultaneously. A consumer will have to purchase a Tk 200 card (Tk 100 for registration) and use it to get water.

The card is reloadable.

“Our plan is to offer something good to residents on the first day of the New Year,” said AKM Fazlullah, managing director of Chattogram Wasa. “We have signed the agreement for five years, which will be extended considering its effectiveness.”

The vending machines are connected to Wasa pipeline, he said.

About the quality of Wasa water, Fazlullah said, “We supply water after treating it and the water is supposed to be safe for drinking. But we cannot guarantee that in every area as our pipeline may get damaged [for various reasons] and contaminate water.”

“We have also installed purifiers in the machines so that people can get safe drinking water,” said the managing director.

Contacted, Ariful Islam, superintendent engineer of Chattogram Wasa, said around 1.5 litres of water can be dispensed from each machine per minute. “The booth will remain open 24 hours. There will also be an operator and people can buy rechargeable cards at the booth,” he said.

Manjur Alam, area manager of Drinkwell, Chattogram, said a person can get around 166 litres of water for Tk 100. “A resident can add [minimum] Tk 50 after the initial balance runs out,” he said. “For registration, two copies of photographs and a copy of NID card will be needed.”

“The entire process of purifying and supplying water from the booth is automated,” said Alam. “People will also be able to monitor the amount of water being dispensed and the remaining balance,” he said.

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