Blog

How eWaterPay is ‘Leaving No One Behind’ on World Water Day 2019

The theme for this World Water Day 2019 is ‘leaving no one behind’, building upon the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that everyone worldwide must benefit from global progress. Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. This means leaving no one behind!

According to the UN’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health, by 2030 the global demand for water is expected to grow by 50%. Water that is fit for human consumption is a highly limited resource that is under pressure from mismanagement and environmental change, but it will need to support a global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Photo by HDif team for eWaterPay Ltd

One of the largest issues affecting access to clean water across sub-Saharan Africa is poor operations and maintenance of water systems. Approximately, $15 billion is spent on water supply infrastructure in the developing world each year by donors, NGOs and governments. This includes handpumps, piped water distribution networks and larger-scale utilities. However, unless these water systems are sustainably maintained year after year they break. An average of approximately one-third of rural water points in the region are not functioning at any one time. According to the International Institute for Environment and Development, over $360 million has been spent on rural water supply schemes which are now dysfunctional in Africa. The World Economic Forum estimates this to be approximately 50,000 water infrastructure systems that since installation have failed completely. Forty percent of water systems break after two years, largely due to the fact that there is no trackable revenue collection to pay for operations and maintenance. Additionally, a lack of monitoring failures of water systems leads to long delays in maintenance. The result is local communities having to return to walking for hours to collect water from unsafe and contaminated sources. Transparent and sustainable financing, and real-time monitoring, are key for the sustainability of water infrastructure in developing countries, and can disrupt the cycle of poor maintenance and deterioration of rural water systems.

Innovating to keep rural water systems sustainable

eWaterPay offers an innovative technology solution that allows local communities to pre-pay for water using Mobile Money and collect from a smart tap that is accessible 24/7. This is achieved by harnessing Internet of Things (IoT), NFC technology (e.g. contactless), mobile money and cloud-based data analytics. eWaterPay’s technology ensures that all water collection revenue is tracked for transparency to ensure all stakeholders, contributing to the maintenance of a water system can be held accountable. This technology can ‘bolt on’ to the community water points of existing piped water distribution networks.

eWaterPay’s smart display dispenser 2019

Water systems in rural Tanzania

According to the World Bank, despite continued development, over 23 million people in Tanzania lack access to clean water. eWaterPay has over 100 smart water dispensers in Northern Tanzania which have provided sustainable water systems through our partners: WARIDI (Water Resources Integration Development Initiative), Tetra Tech, USAID and Water Aid. Our partnerships promote, test and scale the management of water systems and self-reliance of community water authorities, enhancing local ownership and improve service quality.

Delivering water to schools in rural Tanzania

In Gidewari, a village not locatable on Google Maps, sits a large hyper-saline lake where the water is unfit for human or livestock consumption. Not far from the lake is Gidewari Primary School where eWaterPay have installed two smart water dispensers. According to WaterAid, 31% of schools globally do not have access to clean water, which affects approximately 570 million children. For children in rural areas of Africa, a good education starts with access to clean water and sanitation. Through eWaterPay’s remote pre-payment feature, government organisations, diaspora and international donors are able to purchase and send trackable water credit to individual tags and dispensers at schools and health clinics.

Photo by HDif team for eWaterPay Ltd

Several hours from Gidewari is the village of Endanachan, where eWaterPay have two more dispensers in the Primary and Secondary schools. The head teacher Elihuruma Mjemah explained the real impact of access to clean water on children’s education and health:

 

“Children would go and fetch water and this meant that sometimes they would miss class. Many times children complained to me of a stomach ache, but we don’t hear about that any more. The project has really made a big difference to our lives”.

 

The technology has helped to turn the village water distribution system from an unreliable and uncertain source of water to one that will provide water throughout the day. This allows people who are furthest away from the community water points to make the daily decision of travelling to the water points rather than unclean surface water. These are the most marginalised of the community, and by expanding the net of service eWaterPay is helping ‘leave no one behind’.

 

Furthermore, insufficient rural water supply disproportionately affects women and girls, who are often responsible for carrying back-breaking amounts of unclean water for over 4 miles everyday, resulting in many unable to participate in school or contribute to the local economy.

 

With the strategic locations of smart water dispensers in rural villages, the knock-on benefits to health, education and the local economy are undeniably positive.

A happy farewell from the children at Gidewari Primary School. Photo by eWaterPay Ltd

Water availability in Moswero, Tanzania

The village of Moswero has 26 eWater dispensers which have served over 15,000 people since the beginning of December 2018. At eWaterPay availability refers to the performance of a water system against its ability to deliver clean water 24/7. Since installation in Moswero, the water system has consistently delivered water over a 95% service level standard.

 

In many parts of the world water is not available all day everyday. eWaterPay prides itself on continuously innovating to ensure that our technology is affordable to ensure that more dispensers can be placed in rural villages, resulting in smaller distances to collect water and less queuing at the water points.

 

eWaterPay graph highlighting status and availability consistently achieving over 95% in Moswero, Tanzania – December 2018 to March 2019

Empowering female entrepreneurs in The Gambia

At present eWaterPay has over 100 smart water dispensers in The Gambia, representing a real foothold in the development and growth of the vision to transform an entire country’s water supply.

eWaterPay’s focus to date has been empowering female entrepreneurs to lead this transformation. This is delivered through the development of a local network in-charge of installation, operations and maintenance, known as eSu, which blends business and technology with a strong female led, motivated team.

eSu, eWaterPay’s operations and maintenance team in The Gambia, 2017.

Operations and maintenance in Jalambereh, The Gambia

The village of Jalambereh has 16 eWaterPay dispensers which have served over 3,500 people, with a 24/7 availability of 95% since its installation in June 2018. Data analytics has identified that with increased responsiveness to operations and maintenance of water systems, local communities and economies have been able to thrive. Through eWaterCare, a proprietary technical remote monitoring and maintenance software platform, local technicians are automatically alerted if a water dispenser needs investigation via SMS.

 

eWaterPay graph highlighting litres dispensed, revenue collected and availability increasing over time in Jalambereh, The Gambia – June 2018 to March 2019

eWaterPay Availability by Water Dispenser in Jalambereh, The Gambia – June 2018 to March 2019

Water systems in Ghana

In recent months, eWaterPay has expanded into Ghana with water systems that are gaining traction in some of the most rural areas. According to Water.org, approximately 6 million people, or 22% of the population, lack access to safe water and 70% percent of all diseases in Ghana are a result of unsafe water and poor sanitation. eWaterPay’s technology is directly impacting communities that are most vulnerable to water contamination, addressing the UNs Sustainable Development Goal 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

 

This World Water Day eWaterPay pledge to continue innovating, educating and impacting the world on the importance of affordable, smart water for everyone, everywhere. Leaving no one behind!