Smart hand pumps take water to Kenya
INNOVATIONS| June 11, 2012, 8:27 p.m.
Oxford University researchers will soon start a pilot project in Kenya, in which low-cost data transmitters will help people in rural areas ensure regular access to clean drinking water.
The researchers report that hand pumps provide the main source of drinking water for rural communities in many areas of Africa, but around one-third of them do not work at any one time. It can take up to a month or more before they are fixed, leaving communities without easy access to clean water.
In August, the Oxford University researchers will start a pilot project in Kenya to install new, low-cost data transmitters that work in a similar way to mobile phones.
These Smart Hand Pumps will automatically send a text message to the district and national water managers, so they know when and where there is a problem, as well as when the problem has been fixed.
Researcher Patrick Thomson said: “The technology is simple and robust. The transmitter is no bigger than a mobile phone and fits inside the hand pump. It automatically registers the movement of the handle of the pump and from this calculates the amount of water extracted from the pump.
An automatic text about the water usage at each pump is sent at regular intervals to water supply managers, who then immediately know when and where a pump needs fixing. This should enable problems to be addressed more quickly and transparently than they are at the moment, so people don’t have to go without safe water – with all the resulting health problems that can cause.”
The researchers will start to install the technology in 70 village hand pumps across the Kyuso District of Kenya, in a pilot trial funded by the UK Department of International Development. Kyuso commonly experiences droughts and will be the first place in the world to use the new Smart Hand Pumps, a mobile technology that should improve the functionality of its hand pumps.
Lack of reliable access to clean water is an enduring problem in rural Africa. Yet mobile technology in Africa is booming: the number of people within range of a mobile signal has already overtaken the number with an improved water supply and, this year, the number of people with a mobile subscription will pass the same benchmark.
MORE INNOVATIONS NEWS
Clean-Tech to develop national relevance in renewable energyThe Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) through the Clean-Tech Centre, has started developing a nationally relevant renewable energy test bed facility within its premises at the park during the year. Read More
SAIS to pursue mining innovationThe Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) demand driven supply chain incubation model project is seeking to support innovation in mining companies to develop key components of the mining technology supply chain. Read More
Orange Senegal names D4D winnersNational development and population welfare took centre stage as Orange announced the winners of its big data ‘Data for Development’ Challenge Senegal. Read More
AIF announces nominees for Innovation Prize for AfricaAIF has shortlisted 10 nominees from a record 925 applications from 41 countries for the IPA 2015 award. Read More
Silicon Congo chooses four ICT entrepreneursFour tech entrepreneurs that were chosen last week by the first edition of Silicon Congo will go through an intense training programme to help them grow and prosper and make a significant impact in the ICT sector. Read More
BIH and SaiS bring Demola to BotswanaThe Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has brought to the country, together with Southern African Innovation Support (SaiS) programme and Demola bring the Demola Collaboration in Southern Africa Workshop, to be held at the Lansmore hotel in the capital. Read More
Malawi uses ICT to promote public health messages in interactive radio drama campaignMalawi has developed an innovative and highly successful interactive communications campaign in a quest to solve problems surrounding public health in the country. Read More
2015 Youth mHealth Innovation competition now onBotswana’s 2015 mHealth Innovation Competition has been launched with much promise from those taking part to excel beyond limit. Read More
Two African leaders unite to boost innovation on the continentThe UCT Graduate School of Business and MTN have formed a multi-million rand partnership to catalyse sustainable innovation in emerging markets. Read More
FEATURED STORYe-commerce space untapped, says phonekings head
E-commerce is the future, says the head of a new online electronics mall launched in Nigeria. Tayo Olusanya spoke to Kokumo Goodie in Lagos.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHVillagers get solar training at Barefoot College
The Botswana Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has seconded seven semi-illiterate mostly Ngwatle villagers for a six month solar electrification training course at the famed Barefoot College in India.