Digitizing water utility operations to reduce water shortages in Africa and the developing world

Two brothers from Kenya are hoping their innovative STEM business concept will empower utilities in Africa to build a better quality of life through clean and accessible water supplies. The WayPoints team have developed software that digitises and brings water utility operations in Africa into the 21st century. Their innovative software will significantly reduce water loss in the system and create a reliable water source for communities.

Water is becoming increasingly scarce in Kenya due to climate change. Furthermore, data on water resource management and crisis mitigation by water utilities is poor. The country’s entire water system is old and based on pre-digital technology where “metermen” manually visit every household monthly to collect meter readings. Consequently, actionable water consumption data is unavailable, and few effective data-driven measures exist to optimise scarce water supplies.

There are regular interruptions of service and severe water rationing countrywide. Preventable shortages and skyrocketing non-revenue water rates, which is water lost through theft, corruption and leakages, are the causes. Water utilities currently provide an intermittent water supply for less than 11 hours a day on average.

The team believe they have the skills to solve this problem, not only for their community but for Kenya and beyond. Both brothers have experienced water shortages in the country first-hand. They've also had to collect water at 4am and buy it from uncertified vendors as they had no other option.

WayPoints Logo

Denis Sigei, from the WayPoints team, said: “It’s always very exciting to see other young people talk about innovation and the future – to learn together and to make something better for other people. The community in the challenge has a vision of change and we related to this as we share those same values. The challenge gave us the opportunity to increase our visibility and get extra sets of eyes on our story.”

Technical detail

WayPoints is a cloud-based software suite that digitises water utility operations aimed at reducing non-revenue water rates. It enables an end-to-end digital workflow for utilities to improve operational efficiency. WayPoints utilises GIS to focus on improving field operations, driving location intelligence to help make faster and better data-driven decisions.

Teams can remotely locate and assign geo-located jobs, track work progress and give field real-time updates. It uses data analytic tools to help utilities promptly identify leaks, illegal connections, improve revenue collection, and digitally map out existing water infrastructure, thereby greatly reducing water loss and non-revenue rates.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

3 - Good Health and Well-being
6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
17 - Partnerships to achieve the Goal