Leap² Swahili-Tech Women Innovation Challenge - winner of the People's Choice Award. Theme: ICT.
WALCCS is an IOT smart device that activates and deactivates water pump, reading water tank level, checking pipe burst, incoming water pressure, creating and analyzing reports as well as sending SMS and email notifications.
The feature deactivating water flow during burst pipes helps save water loss and enhance quicker response in repairs. In most cases, it takes days for municipalities to locate burst pipes and the associated huge revenue loss.
They have a working prototype and have tested with Taita Taveta Water Company that supplies water to over 300,000 residents.
Non-revenue water (NRW) is water that has been produced and is “lost” before it reaches the consumer due to leakages in water tanks and pipes, metering inaccuracies, and meter by-passes. High levels of NRW are detrimental to the financial viability of water utilities, as well to the quality of water itself.
In Kenya, NRW represents on average 47% of water produced and treated. Aside from revenue loss, leaks lead to a substantial waste of energy and chemicals. Another problem is frequent and long disruption of water supply when pumps break down or pipes burst. And finally, water consumption metering and billing is inaccurate and inefficient.
Sote Hub start-up Cholacs-Systems has developed an IoT-based solution (WALCCS) that allows water utilities to minimize system failure, reduce non-revenue water losses, and digitally collect water fees while giving consumers the benefit of more reliable supply, insight in water consumption and convenience of digital payments. Advances in electronics and decreases in the cost of sensors have made smart infrastructures a reality. Moreover, proliferation of the internet has opened up new applications for the “internet of things” (IOT) to serve as a backbone for infrastructure monitoring.
Cholacs-Systems has combined these developments to build its smart solution for water utilities. Smart sensors are installed in tanks and pipelines for real-time monitoring of the drink water supply infrastructure. The IoT sensors (powered by long- life solar batteries) wirelessly transmit data on water levels in tanks and pressures in pipelines to WALCCS server-based platform which translates the data into actionable information for quick and accurate response by the water utility. Water utility officers access the information through the WALLCS app on their laptop, tablet or smartphone.
The system almost instantly detects the incidence of pump failures and leakages, shuts down the system automatically, and reports the nature and location of the (+/-3 m in pipelines) via SMS-alerts to the appropriate water utility officers for prompt and adequate action.
At the consumer end (households and water kiosks), smart water meters complete the solution. Fitted with SIM cards, the meters transmit readings to WALCCS platform where it can be accessed both by utility officers and by consumers through an app. The meter data are basis for automated billing, which informs consumers 3 days before the end of the month how much is due, enabling them to make digital payment (M-Pesa’s “Pay Bill”).
Near-real time, consumers can monitor their water consumption and compare with area averages. The utility can use the data to optimize wate management and detect meter by-passes and unusual water consumption. The solution allows the utility to optimize water pressure and flow in line with consumer demand, thus reducing the incidence of burst pipes and leakages. Following the successful testing of prototypes, the next step is a pilot with the Tavevo water utility, which provides water and sewerage services in Taita Taveta County. The WALCCS solution will reduce water loss so that more water can be supplied to undeserved consumers while promoting the sustainability and quality of water provision in Kenya.