Smart-Metering System Gives Consumers Payment Flexibility and Could Encourage Development of Water-Supply Networks in the Country
Partnering to deliver running water to homes in developing countries, Kerlink and CityTaps, a French company with a mission to increase access to running water in third-world countries, have installed a pilot project to help Kenyans receive, monitor and pay for water use.
The pilot project is financed by a program of the French treasury directorate general (Trésor DG) called FASEP. Designed primarily for French SMEs that aspire to expand internationally, FASEP awards grants to finance feasibility studies or pilot projects for green and innovative technologies. The grants allow companies to demonstrate the effectiveness of their methods and establish a base in their partner countries.
The network combines Kerlink’s Wirnet iBTS outdoor gateways and CityTaps’ CTSuite of smart prepaid water meters and software of existing mobile payment systems. The LoRaWAN® IoT-based network enables users to measure and manage their water consumption and make scheduled payments to the water-supply utility, MAWASCO, in the Watamu region of Kenya. In addition to eliminating overdue bills, CityTaps’ grant will help reduce water loss and leakage in Watamu.
“In Kenya, 41 percent of the population does not have access to running water,” said Grégoire Landel, CEO and founder of CityTaps. “This grant will pay for the installation of CityTaps’ CTSuite in many homes in Watamu with the support from Kerlink. Kerlink is a strong partner for this project because it has extensive experience deploying IoT networks around the world, including in Africa”.
“An important feature of this project will enable people with irregular incomes who cannot afford monthly bills to have access to affordable, quality water by staying connected to the water company’s network and making payments when they can,” Landel continued.
“It will allow customers to pre-pay for their water consumption by crediting a water account at any time, with any mobile phone and for any amount. This helps water utilities to recover arrears and avoid losses, which encourages financiers to invest in the extension of water networks.”
“Together, Kerlink and CityTaps are contributing to the health and quality of life in Kenya’s Watamu region, demonstrating again how LoRaWAN® IoT networks can considerably improve conditions for people around the world,” said Romain Weryk, Kerlink’s key account manager. “Powered by Kerlink’s Wirnet iBTS outdoor gateways, CityTaps’ tailored solution delivers radio communication between the water meters and the software platform, bringing smart metering to this developing country region.”
Kerlink earlier this year announced its involvement in a UN pilot program for reservoir monitoring in Uganda and Iraq, which also incorporates Kerlink’s carrier-grade LoRaWAN® gateway technology.
CityTaps received the FASEP grant to support its vision to bring running water to every home in Kenya, in pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG6, which supports access to water and sanitation around the world.