Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Kerlink LoRaWan brings smart water metering to Kenya

Steve Rogerson
April 29, 2020
 
Kerlink and French start-up CityTaps are deploying a LoRaWan in Kenya to help bring running water into homes. The 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, French IoT firm Kerlink and CityTaps have installed a pilot project to help Kenyans receive, monitor and pay for water use.
 
The pilot is financed by the French treasury directorate general, in a programme 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 used in 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 per cent 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.”
 
Landel said that an important feature of the project would enable people with irregular incomes who could not afford monthly bills to have access to affordable, quality water by staying connected to the water company’s network and making payments when they could.
 
“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,” said Landel. “This helps water utilities to recover arrears and avoid losses, which encourages financiers to invest in the extension of water networks.”
 
Romain Weryk, Kerlink’s key account manager, added: “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. 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 programme for reservoir monitoring in Uganda and Iraq, which also incorporates its 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.
 
More than 120,000 Kerlink installations have been rolled out with more than 330 clients in 69 countries. Based in France, with subsidiaries in the USA, Singapore, India and Japan, Kerlink is a founding and board member of the LoRa Alliance.
 
CityTaps was established in 2015 to help bring running water to the homes of one billion urban people who live without running water in their homes. The company’s CTSuite combines a smart and prepaid water meter and software with existing mobile payment systems, which enables equipped homes to measure water use and manage their consumption.