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Malaysia

Water 'ATM' may make debut in Malaysia

Rural Malaysia may see the introduction of a technology called AQtap through Grundfos for bringing water into underdeveloped areas. — Picture by KE Ooi
Rural Malaysia may see the introduction of a technology called AQtap through Grundfos for bringing water into underdeveloped areas. — Picture by KE Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — Malaysia could see the introduction of an innovative way to bring water into rural and underdeveloped areas over the coming years, says water industry player Grundfos.

Grundfos' Asia Pacific regional managing director Kim Jensen said the company was looking to introduce water as a service in South-east Asia through a technology called the AQtap.

“We call it the AQtap water dispenser and we hope to also see this project mushroom in countries like Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia in South-east Asia,” said Jensen.

“We know that our pumps can sometimes be too expensive to install, but we know it works well especially in these areas to provide water supply, this is why we are looking at ways to revolutionise the industry.”

“If we can be certain of the water quality we are providing, then we should not be worried about the cost of installation, rather, we can focus on giving back to society by providing clean water and only charge consumers for that instead,” he said, noting that Grundfos was Malaysia’s top pump supplier.

He added that such technology could be attractive to Malaysia as a developing country since engagement with the government had already taken place for various other water-centric projects like water treatment.

“We do not rule out this possibility, we have projects in Malaysia on water treatment and perhaps it could be expanded in rural areas too,” Jensen said.

“For now, our efforts in the region have been largely the installation of our pumps and water treatment, but we believe that the potential for other markets are arising.”

In one of its pilot project on the technology, Grundfos' foundation arm Grundfos Lifelink spearheaded the installation of its pumps in water-scarce areas like Nairobi, Kenya.

They had charged users for the quality of water they receive, rather than for the materials needed to retrieve water such as pumps.

The AQtap functions with three main elements — the “smart cards,” the dispensing or ATM unit, and the water management system.

The smart cards are used to store water credit where customers would use it to buy water from the ATM.

Jensen added that while the application of such methods have mostly been carried out in rural areas, the plan was to also venture into cities where piping and water management problems were prevalent.

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