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Wanted: Investors prepared to take the plunge into water tech

An excerpt from Reuters Featuring HydroIQ. Read the full story on Reuters here.

In Kenya, and other parts of Africa, as much as 50% of the water extracted by utilities is lost to leaks. It’s a story that’s repeated around the world. Aging infrastructure and lengthy delays in pinpointing leaks mean that as often as three days a week, Nairobi’s taps can run dry, while consumers are expected to pay for water they don’t receive.

“Everybody believes that water is a crucial resource, and it's finite. But the investments towards water infrastructure have been overlooked for a very long time,” says entrepreneur Brian Bosire, who focuses on applying emergent technologies on Africa’s challenges.

“When you look at countries where climate change has a huge impact on water supplies and water sources, it's crucial for us to start deploying some of the best technologies we have: the Internet of Things to monitor water infrastructure, data analytics to predict water consumption and to bring efficiency on how we use water, and importantly, use the data that we are gathering on consumption to empower the end consumers on the various ways they can improve their water efficiency.”

That’s what his company HydroIQ is doing, in the process cutting the time to identify leaks on the distribution network from up to six months to minutes. Of almost four billion litres of water being piped through the system where HydroIQ technology is installed, it has saved around a billion being wasted in the past year.

“Our platform brings visibility to the entire network,” Bosire explains. Consumers can log in to an application to track their use, which has also helped cut consumption.

The system is running in a couple of other locations in Kenya, and Bosire hopes to roll out a first project in South Africa later this year. A pilot is also under way in Guatemala with a cement manufacturer building a smart city.

But scale-up is difficult. While water is political and utilities are slow to convince, Bosire says “investor awareness is one of the biggest challenges”.


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