Though summer is still quite a few months away, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is all set to counter the heat with some advance planning. The Council plans to set up water ATMs at 15 locations in the Lutyens’ Zone to provide clean drinking water to people under the Smart City plan.
At the ATMs, people will be able to get a glass of water using prepaid smart cards, coins or tokens, at the rate of Rs 1 for 300 ml. The civic body has already floated a tender for the project, bids for which will be accepted till January 3. NGOs dealing with the sector are free to come up for the proposal, an official said.
In October, the civic body had experimented with two water ATMs at JJ Clusters and at Mandi House. The experiment proved to be a hit and the Council decided to go for full-fledged water vending systems to be installed at public parks, markets, monuments and tourist hubs, among other locations.
“A large section of people are on the streets every day. They do not have access to clean drinking water. As part of the Smart City plan, the NDMC aims to make drinking water widely available at public places. This project will allow potable water to be supplied to the consumer in biodegradable paper cups,”a senior official said. He added: “The machines will work more or less like cash ATMs and will be monitored digitally. We will ensure that they are user-friendly and that anyone is able to use them.”
The NDMC provides amenities to an estimated 2.5 lakh people in an area of 42.74 sqkm. In addition, nearly 15 lakh people commute to commercial complexes and government offices in the areas under the Council’s jurisdiction.
“We have a planned pre-bid meeting next week as it is a relatively new technology. We will promote the initiative by organising awareness programmes on the use and feasibility of these water ATMs. It is a new concept for Indian cities and it will take some time for people to become familiar to it,”said the official.
The Delhi government also proposed to set up solar-powered water ATMs last year, to meet the drinking water demand in slum clusters and rural areas. The plan is yet to take off.