CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

Kenya: Remote Borehole Pump Monitoring to Transform Water Supply in Remote Areas

Water is an essential basic need to the entire human race but most are the times that communities in arid and semi arid areas of Kenya go for days without this esential commodity. However this is yet to change after a Kenyan based multinational water and energy specialist Davis & Shirtliff in collaboration with a German Solar Pump manufacturer, LORENTZ launched the "pump manager" web platform which will offer remote monitoring of solar pumping systems.

This will help curb the menace brought about by the malfunction of pumps can have a devastating effect, leavingpeople without water for days or weeks especially in remote areas whose onlysource of water is a borehole.

Previously, in places like Wajir, the residents relied on solar poweredpumps to replace the traditional generator driven alternatives, which due totheir simplicity are intrinsically much more reliable but operating problemscan still occur.

The new web platform will enable its technicians and customers to remotelymonitor borehole and pump performance using the mobile phone network, thusenabling the chance of intervention before a system breakdown occurs. Variousmalfunctions such as tripping can be identified and often corrected fromNairobi or indeed anywhere else via a remote pump configuration facility. Evenwhen a site visit is necessary, technicians can be on site to correct amalfunction well before the community itself is aware of any problem.

The system monitoring hardware and software has been developed in-house byLORENTZ and all system operation data is continuously sent via GPRS/cellularnetwork to their data center from where it is continuously analysed and stored.Being cloud based information, it is accessible to D&S technicians andcustomers using laptops, tablets or smart phones.

Two such systems with remote monitoring are already in operation in WajirCounty where thousands of people depend on a stable water supply for themselvesand their livestock.

These systems are a result of a partnership between D&S and the BritishNGO Oxfam.

For Oxfam, as well as for other NGO's who have installed water pumpingsystems in remote areas, a real-time monitoring of system performanceparameters such as voltage, amperage, flow rates, operating time, pump speed,cable dynamics, temperature, and more means that they can offer the communitiesa more reliable water supply and can avoid the risk of unnecessary andunexpected failures.

The system stores up to 10 years of data (at a 10 minute frequency) andallows for two-way communication to control and program pump speeds andoperating times.

Davis & Shirtliff is the leading supplierof high quality water and energy solutions to the East African Market and iswell represented throughout the region with branches and subsidiaries.

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