WorldWater Ships First AquaCard Systems to Philippines to Begin Rural Water Utility Service
By Application of New Card, Communities are Able to Borrow from Banks to Build Water Utility Service for the First Time
WorldWater Corp. shipped the first production models of its proprietary "AquaCard" (Smart Card) and "AquaMeter" systems to the island province of Cebu in the Philippines to initiate utility water service in communities, according to the company's Chairman and CEO Quentin T. Kelly.
The new debit card systems operate directly with WorldWater's solar water pumping stations in the community, Mr. Kelly said. Residents insert the cards into the AquaMeters(TM) which then deliver the requested number of liters of clean drinking water from the solar pump near by. The microchip on the card reads when the card needs to be recharged by the customer at the community bank.
The user can purchase up to 1,000 liters per charge at a cost-per-liter significantly less than he must pay for water from other sources, Mr. Kelly explained.
The bank then turns over the money to the community government, which uses the funds to pay back the loan used to purchase the equipment and installation from WorldWater.
"The process enables small communities to borrow funds from banks for clean water utility service for the people for the first time," said Dr. Anand Rangarajan, Exec. VP of WorldWater. "These cards actually mean the development of a new economy for rural areas. Ronda, in central Cebu, is the first community to make use of our program -- we have several other communities expected to follow Ronda and, because of its practical economies, believe the number will eventually become hundreds, possibly thousands, not only in the Philippines but in developing countries all over the world."
WorldWater established the "smart card" as a financing solution for community water production as well as a method to remove problems associated with the payment collection process, Mr. Kelly added. Communities recover their costs of supplying the equipment purchased from WorldWater and are able to offer a more standardized utility service.
WorldWater maintains a carrying charge of some 10 per cent net of the card gross for service charges during the life of the contract (currently 10 years).
"After fully establishing this Water Utility Program, we will alter the microchip on the AquaCard(TM) to make it a PowerCard(TM) and supply the same service for rural electricity to be generated by our solar systems," Mr. Kelly said.
The company expects to implement the system in other countries where it currently has business operations or will be operating.