"Having clean drinking water is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and it is thought that worldwide more than 700 million people still do not have access to it. People living in slums traditionally rely on vendors, who are expensive, or polluted sources to get drinking water.In 2017 a public-private partnership between Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, the city’s main water distribution company, and Grundfos, a Danish water engineering firm, resulted in the installation of water vending machines. The machines are expected to revolutionise water availability and distribution to populations that have long been at the mercy of water cartels and a changing and unreliable climate.
To buy clean water, users load points onto smart cards which are able to access the water ATMs around the slum. Residents swipe the smart cards, topped up at a kiosk or through a mobile phone, at the dispenser and water starts flowing from the tap . The water company is opening four of these dispensers/ATMs in Nairobi and there are hopes the scheme will be expanded.A version of the scheme has been used in rural areas in Kenya, but it is thought this is the first time that it will be used in an urban area. The company says that this public-private partnership model could be developed in other countries.
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