After Dhaka, people living in Chattogram will get fresh water from ATM booths starting from the first day of the new year.
A litre of fresh water will cost as low as Tk0.6 (60 paisa) in these booths.
The experimental phase of the service is set to be inaugurated on January 1, 2020.
A US-based organisation named "Drinking Well Water" will buy water from the Chattogram Wasa and sell it to the consumers after purifying. A booth has already been set up in Khulshi area of the port city.
Construction of two other booths – one in front of Agrabad Wasa office and another at booster station of Chattogram Wasa in Bahaddarhat – is underway.
The officials at the Chattogram Wasa and the "Drinking Well Water" said at least 100 more water booths will be built in different areas of Chattogram within the year of "Mujib Borsho", which will be celebrated from March 17, 2020 to March 26, 2021.
"Developed countries such as the United States sell water this way. Therefore, we signed a contract with the US-based company to provide residents of Chattogram with fresh water," said Chattogram Wasa's Chief Engineer Md Maksud Alam.
"The booths are built in Wasa's land. Under the contract, Wasa will provide 'Drinking Well Water' with water and electricity. But they would need to bear the maintenance and electricity expenses," he added.
Upon visiting the water ATM booth in Khulshi area, The Business Standard correspondent reported that the booth looks like any other ATM booth. But instead of money, fresh water comes out of a pipe when a card is entered. The flow of water stops once the card is taken out. The machines used to purify water are set behind the huge booth.
"One hundred consumers have already registered with the service. The water we will provide from this booth will be up to three times cleaner than the water provided by Wasa," said Drink Well Water's Chattogram Area Manager Mohammad Monjurul Alam.
The consumers will be able to register to the service and get their rechargeable ATM card from the representatives in the booth. Each card will have a password.
"Consumers can register to the service and get their cards by paying Tk200 registration fee; of the amount, Tk100 will be deposited to the card to be used for buying water later," he added.
Consumers also have to submit a photocopy of the national identity card and two copies of passport size photos during the registration.