eWater and Eseye making clean water flow

By Anasia D’mello

One in nine people, or 783 million people worldwide, don’t have access to clean water. Water systems are continuously installed but 65% break within the first two years as there is no sustainable method of maintaining them.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) advisors are all too aware the traditional model relies too heavily on unreliable water committees to collect user fees and carry out maintenance. As a result, often generously donated solar pumps and filtration systems can be left broken for years, particularly in war-torn regions where a charity has had to withdraw and slowly the infrastructure fails to deliver.

About eWater

For the world’s poorest people a sustainable solution must provide easy and affordable payment per use, in-country maintenance of the water supply, while creating local employment opportunities.

eWater provides a sustainable, proven solution by using mobile technology for the transparent and accountable collection of user fees to ensure sustainable maintenance. To achieve this, eWater fully integrates three technologies: Mobile money, Internet of Things (IoT) and Near Field Communication (NFC) to manage the provision of clean, low-cost water, which is accessible 24/7.

The technology

eWATERapp

Whilst a solar-powered pump, filtration system, tanks and local water distribution system is being installed or repaired, eWater trains local engineers to maintain the system and upgrade communal taps. The upgrade includes replacing handpumps or leaky unreliable outlets with a smartcard reader, communications hub and solar-powered electronic valve.

To use the new tap, anyone can present an eWater NFC tag. Upon reading the tag, the valve will open allowing the flow of clean fresh water. Key to ensuring the tap is working and maintained is the connection to eWater care, making it a true IoT appliance.

The cloud-based eWater care application receives information on functionality, flow rates and sales in real time, allowing unusual behaviour to be highlighted and quickly passed to the local maintenance engineer. With local skills, reputation and pride involved, the engineer can quickly visit the affected tap to ensure repairs are carried out within 12 hours of a server alert.

Anyone wishing to use the system obtains an eWater NFC tag from a local shop. The tag may be charged with credit using a smartphone that includes NFC functionality. Since many eWater customers may not have a smartphone, the system has been designed to allow anyone in the village to become a local distributor for eWATER credit.

This is likely to be a shopkeeper who will purchase water credit in bulk using the integrated mobile money platform (eWater app). Anyone can then purchase water credit from the seller for cash, by touching their eWater tag to the seller’s phone.

The challenge

eWater required a method of collecting functionality information from the taps, to ensure repairs could be made as quickly as possible. The communications system would need to give confidence to investors and their global team that 100% of the usage and performance data would be communicated to the servers in a timely manner. More important still was to provide every eWater customer with the confidence that the tap will be working […]

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Posted on: August 8, 2018

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