Shusmita Dhali, 18, collects water from the ATM machine at Chalna. WaterAid/ Abir Abdullah Bazar, Dacope, Khulna, Bangladesh, March 2018.

"The idea that water rather than cash be dispensed is, however, a novelty. While it may sound strange, water ATMs, or automated water dispensing units, are increasingly popping up as a solution to a lack of clean water."

Subira Bjornsen, Program Support and Learning Adviser at WaterAid, explains how WaterAid are implementing water ATMs to provide a dependable source of clean water in Bangladesh. Designed to operate 24 hours a day, powered by solar energy, and able to collect rainwater and purify it via solar-powered osmosis or connect to the grid system, the water ATM machines are accessed via a water card sold by vendors and small shops. Once topped up with credit, the card can be inserted into the machine to obtain water. This allows people reliable access to clean drinking water at an affordable price and it significantly reduces the time spent on water collection.

WaterAid works in sub-districts Dacope and Paikgacha in Bangladesh and through water ATMs that were established in 2015, supports 160,000 people with access to clean water. Since 2012, WaterAid has been working with HSBC to provide communities in Bangladesh vulnerable to the impacts of climate, with climate-resilient clean water sources that have a great impact on their livelihoods.

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