Safe and affordable drinking water is what at least 60,000 people in the backward regions of Karimnagar and Adilabad districts of Telangana state can look forward to getting in the next 24 months.

To make this a reality, global technology giant Honeywell and Safe Water Network have joined hands to provide the technology, fund, and implement the iJal stations.

Initially, 25 iJal stations will be installed. Each of the stations, costing approximately $35,000 to $40,000 in capital investment, is expected to serve 2,500 people. Once operational, the local community will be a stakeholder in the station, and would be engaged in running and generating funds to maintain it, said Kurt Soderlund, Chief Executive Officer of the Network.

The approximate cost works out to Rs 4 per 20 litres. Since access to safe drinking water is a high priority and the ‘local ownership model’ is scrupulously implemented, the projects are expected to be a success. Already, 10 iJal stations have been operationalised, he told newspersons here today.

The Network collaborates with the local Government (Panchayati Raj) and ensures that the community goes on to owning and maintaining the stations, besides paying affordable costs. So far, 112 iJal stations have been commissioned in the country, bringing affordable, safe drinking water access to more than 3,80,000 people in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Telangana. 

The bigger plan is to build 300 such stations to reach 900,000 people by the end of 2017. Through its operations in India, the Safe Water Network has been recognised as a National Key Resource Centre by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, he added.

The projects in Telangana are being funded by the Honeywell India grant. “We have committed to 25 iJal stations. They will be remotely operated and monitored and technical support will be provided by us,” said Anant Maheswari, Honeywell India President.

In these projects which Honeywell terms ‘Home Town Solutions’, there is no plan to recover capital costs, and the emphasis will be on supporting local communities and making them partners to ensure they turn into sustainable, beneficial projects, he explained.