Easy and sustainable access to clean water changes everything. Once World Vision provides a water source in a community, we want to make sure that the water continues to flow.
Through independent evaluations, we have learned a key predictor of long-term sustainability of the water points is to have a water committee that takes ownership of the water point. Critical work of the water committee is to charge a small and affordable fee so that there are funds available for ongoing maintenance and repair. World Vision has an excellent record of long-term sustainability of water points because we are able to walk alongside communities for an average of 15 years to ensure that the water committee is self-sufficient.
|Villagers can now get water at any time of day or night at the water ATMs. Previously they had to wait for an attendant to open a water kiosk for limited hours during the day.|
|Close up of a water ATM.|
In order to provide sustainable water sources managed locally by these water committees, we have teamed up with Grundfos, the global leader in pump solutions. World Vision drills for water in a community and then installs a Grundfos pump powered by solar power. Water is pumped up into an overhead storage tank and then the water flows through gravity to kiosks placed throughout the community including near households, in schools, and health-care facilities. World Vision works with the community to establish the water committees and works with other key stakeholders using a system-wide approach. Grundfos provides the systems and installation and helps ensure that parts and service are available locally.
A new innovation developed by Grundfos - called AQtap Water ATM - is an automated water kiosk with a payment system. Small affordable payments collected through a customer’s water card at the kiosk ensures that the water solution is sustainable because money is easily available to the local water committee. Customers pay the set price and can even use their mobile phones to load credits onto their water cards. Water usage and payments are tracked by the system allowing us to quickly identify potential needed repairs. In addition, this allows for 24/7 service and the user doesn’t depend on having someone present to turn on the water or collect fees. The system is more efficient and fee collection goes directly to the bank.
World Vision and Grundfos have been able to expand the AQtap Water ATM in Kenya with a grant from the Stone Family Foundation. (Read a case study about this partnership in Kenya.) We have now provided 60 units in Kenya, 20 units in Zambia, 40 units in Ghana, two units in Ethiopia and two units in Rwanda.
I strongly believe that innovation can help address the world's water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges. I believe that new tools, approaches and partnerships can find great ways of empowering people to take an even greater ownership. This partnership with World Vision is a wonderful example of how a different water supply model can empower people to get access to water, and do it in a sustainable way.
Our goal is to expand this effort throughout Africa and ensure that everyone everywhere has access to clean water that lasts. Please watch the video below to see how the AQtap Water ATM works and the difference it is making in a community in Kenya.