Nairobi, Kenya was this year’s venue for the International Water Association (IWA) Development Congress and Exhibition; a biennial event addressing urban water management issues. Between October 14 and October 17 2013 the Congress hosted around 1,000 water professionals who came to engage in discussions around the governance, technical and financial aspects of water management particularly in low and middle income countries.
The event marked the official launch of a joint survey by the International Water Association and SeeSaw focussed on African water utilities. The survey aims to better understand what ICT tools exist, what demand water utilities have for such tools and where the overall market is headed.
An hour-long engagement with water utility representatives and other stakeholders confirmed that whilst there is great interest in the topic, there is also debate and uncertainty over what tools are out there, which add value and what specific types of ICT innovation to adopt. Although some early adopters have reported success, others want to see a stronger ‘business case’ to be sure that the investment will result in more cost effective services and service improvements. Given the specific context of developing countries, there was also a clear sentiment that, despite all the talk around ‘smart grids’, it is unclear how exactly utilities in developing countries should invest time and effort in ICT innovation. Hence the rationale and motivation for the survey.
If you wish to stay in touch with SeeSaw about the survey, to take part or be informed when the findings come out, please fill in the following :