WaterATM: Automated Water dispensing machine

‘WaterATM’ is a user friendly automated water dispensing machine installed over filtration plants. It regulates usage of clean drinking water by using a user authentication mechanism. It provides technological innovations and help in saving clean and filtered water wastage which eventually impacts the community health.   infographic

The Challenge

In recent history, there has been much emphasis on low cost water purification technologies, however, not a lot of work has been done on automated monitoring and evaluation of such technologies. Recent advances in wireless sensors, alongside ubiquitous availability of mobile (GSM) networks in developing countries now make it possible to remotely and automatically monitor the quality of water being dispensed, thereby eliminating the human error/mischief element from the system. While organizations such as Sarvajal have used technologies to measure the use of the purification unit (as a proxy to measure water quality), to our knowledge, no organization has actually been able to remotely and automatically measure actual water quality metrics in real-time. Access to clean water is as important as access to water itself. The health and economic effects of polluted water are well documented. It leads to illness, ailment and even death. Mortality and morbidity impose costs on individuals and families which, above the direct costs of treatment and medicine, may include loss of earning and impaired productivity. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has declared, not only that the fundamental right to life includes a clean and healthy environment, but that access to unpolluted water is the right of every person wherever he lives.

Our Solution

Our proposed device, called Wrind, has two components: an automated water-dispensing unit, and a real-time remote water quality-monitoring unit. Given that Pakistan is an extremely water-scarce country, and water collection at water filtration plants is free of cost, we are working with the government to minimise water wastage and ensure quality. In order to do so, we are currently building a prototype of a 2 x 2 ft. water-dispensing unit which has three components: RFID authentication, a fluid flow meter to measure volume of water dispensed, and a solenoid activated valve to stop/start dispensing. Currently, we are able to accurately measure and dispense water, and also provide authentication via RFID tags, where the user data is stored on a local database. Moreover, we plan to add a two-SIM (one for backup) GSM component (GPRS/EDGE or SMS), where the log files from the Water Dispensing Unit can be pushed to a central database in real time. Also, we plan to design the user-interface of the device to especially cater to the needs of low-literate, less tech-savvy users.