Kenyan based multinational Davis and Shirtliff, in partnership with solar pump manufacturer Lorentz, has launched the Lorentz pump scanner application for customers and technicians to remotely monitor borehole performance and stem water
wastage from boreholes. The launch comes as more Kenyans turn to boreholes as a source of water, with studies indicating that at the current rate of drilling, by 2015 there will be approximately 4,900 boreholes across the Nairobi groundwater system, pumping 184,000 cubic metres daily up from 4,130.
This is in addition to ongoing drilling initiatives in other parts of the country, including the recent find at the Lotikipi aquifer, which is estimated to hold 200 billion cubic metres of fresh water, expected to increase the country's volume of accessible water by 8.5 per cent and double the amount of water available for consumption today, according to government reports.
"Customers are now able to track the pump performance and get a technician on site whenever they note an abnormal trend in their boreholes output, unlike before, when the biggest problem with boreholes has been that when they malfunction, a technician has to check all parts," said Alec Davis, CEO Davis and Shirtliff Group.
"We developed the technology for preventive maintenance for clients and also to give customers more control of their pumps," said Kai Reinecke Channel Manager at Lorentz.
The PS controller is available as an application for Android phones as well as accessible via tablets and laptops and is able to store data for up to 2 years, giving proper records of the pumping activities, including how much water is being produced, at what rate, the amount of power being used, and the length of each pumping session.
Once a pump is switched on, the PS controller sends data on voltage and pump rotation via GPS to the Lorentz database, where it is stored. It is then sent to the clients' laptop or phone.
"Before, we only sent a technician to site when the client reported abnormal output, or the pump had broken down," said Norman Chege, Solar Manager Davis and Shirtliff Group.
In Mombasa District, about 35 per cent of water demand is supplied by ground water sources, including Marere boreholes, which mainly supply the Likoni area. In fact, 13,286 out of the 183,540 households in the district are almost permanently dependant on groundwater.
"In such situations, where lives of thousands depend on the water from boreholes, any malfunction puts these families at risk. This system gives one time to organize for a technician to get on site before the system breaks down completely," said Norman Chege.
The company also recently partnered with World Vision on a Sh3 million solar powered borehole pumping installation providing water to 2000 people and 20,000 livestock with 80m3 of water per day in Wajir, Northern Kenya.
The PS controller also enables one to remotely switch off a borehole thus enabling control of the amount of time a borehole is functioning.The device comes at an initial cost of Sh60,000 with a monthly service charge of Sh2,600 shillings.
The average charge for drilling and casing a Nairobi borehole is Sh1.365 million. Add to this about Sh500,000 for average pump, control panel, and piping costs and the total is Sh1.865 million, according to data from the World Bank.
"A borehole is a significant investment, thus the need for close monitoring to ensure that it runs efficiently," said Mr Chege.
"Davis and Shirtliff is the first in the region to bring this product to full commercial use, and we are already seeing the impact it's having on communities, especially in semi arid areas," said Mr. Davis.
Davis and Shirtliff is a Kenyan multinational, operating through a network of Kenyan branches and regional subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and DRC. Founded in Kenya in 1946, it is the leading supplier of water related and alternative energy equipment in East Africa.