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Kenya water management services tap into IBM analytics

Kenya water management services tap into IBM analytics

IBM scientists in Kenya have unveiled a Water Management as a Service platform to help the country's water management organisations make informed decisions based on credible data and improve the supply of sanitation services to arid and semi-arid areas.

SweetSense, a startup that works with IBM will be mandated to install sensors in water systems to generate actionable data. The sensors can also help water service providers reduce their non-revenue water or water that is 'lost' before it reaches the customer through leaks, theft or metering inaccuracies.

The platform will host a database of interactive maps for information about water points across the counties. A historical record of water drawn from boreholes, breakages and repairs will also be maintained to track progress in the counties. The system will be available also as a mobile application.

IBM has also partnered with Kenya RAPID (Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development) to provide data on population trends, ground and surface water supply, climatic patterns and land use to help water management organisations.

Dr Nathan Wangusi, the Principal Project Investigator from IBM Research – Africa, said, "For instance, if a citizen reports an issue to the sub-county water officer, the officer can use the mobile app to quickly locate the issue and assign the complaint to a repair officer who then inspects the issue and files a site report detailing the issue and/or required resources, also using the app."

"Once the repairs are complete, the assigned officer files a repair report detailing what was fixed to close the issue through the mobile app."

Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir counties fall under the Kenya RAPID initiative and are immediate targets for the initial roll out of the platform.

IBM stated that 84% of Kenya is categorised as arid or semi-arid and added, "With a population of approximately 46 million, 41 percent of Kenyans rely on water sources such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers, a challenge especially in rural areas. Only nine out of 55 public water service providers in Kenya provide a continuous water supply."

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