Water ATMs: A safe and dignified water solution in refugee settlement
As displacement crises become increasingly protracted, there is an urgent need for sustainable and innovative ways to secure access to water in refugee settlements. Through a partnership with Grundfos, DRC has implemented water systems in three Ugandan villages, which offer a safe and dependable water supply while relieving the residents from reliance on humanitarian actors for their water.
“The lives of people in the community have been uplifted with the provision of clean water. Amidst this pandemic, there is ample water for handwashing as mandated to avoid the spread of COVID-19”
/ William Byirinjo, resident of the Kyaka II settlement in Uganda
Poor water quality in refugeecamps
One paramount challenge in most refugee camps and settlements across the world is the availability of water to the residents.
Often, displaced people rely on unsustainable access to water, such as water trucking or drawing their water from unprotected natural sources, with water often being dirty or contaminated and unsafe for consumption. This was also the case in the Kyaka II settlement in Uganda, which was established in 2005 and hosts more than 60,000 refugees.
A sense of ownership and a longer-term solution
Therefore, DRC has partnered with Grundfos, a global leader in advanced pump solutions and water technology, to conceive a project that reaches about 15,000 residents in three villages within Kyaka II, namely Bukere A, Bukere B and Buliti. The aim is to provide safe water for the communities in a sustainable, equitable and efficient manner that is also more environmentally as well as financially sustainable.
With financial support from the GSMA Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Fund, DRC and Grundfos have implemented five solar-powered AQtap water ATMs, which are automated water kiosks with a payment system through a water credit card that can be loaded through mobile payments. This system is not only safer because of its cashless nature, but also more equitable, as it won´t allow people to default on payments.
Now, the AQtap water ATMs provide the local communities in the three villages with reliable and safe water around the clock, while also tackling the issue of water wastage through spillage. Moreover, they are connected to a water management system that keeps track of water usage and the transactions made and that monitors and reports technical issues.