New tech to tap solar in provision of clean water

Kenya’s quest to fulfil the need for clean water mainly in rural areas could be finally met after five university students invented a solar-powered water desalinator.

The group calling itself, The Greatest of All Time (Goat), which comprises students from Kenyatta University, University of Nairobi and Strathmore University was unveiled at this year’s IBM Digital-Nation Africa: Smart Water Challenge.

Goat’s innovation also uses Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to prevent water pipes from burstsing by keeping the piping system fully functional.

The team which won a paid internships with IBM in Nairobi will be assisted to further develop their innovation ahead of its deployment in a large scale pilot thereby giving Kenyans access to clean water sourced from salty water sources.

Environmental scientist Sam Nyamwange expressed optimism that the innovation which earned him recognition at the Cambridge Sustainability University in South Africa will be applied to solve water problems being experienced in Northern Kenya.

In September 2013, French scientist Alain Gachet announced discovery of a huge underground freshwater source in Turkana that traverses 4,164 square kilometres at Lokipiti estimated to hold about 200 billion cubic metres of fresh water that could serve Kenya for 70 years.

But the Turkana aquifer are yet to be exploited due to lack of expertise and cheaper technologies to desalinate the salty water.

Some 200 Kenyan student developers registered for the challenge where 38 proposals were submitted by individuals and teams.

Software developer and ‘Goat’ team member Davis Too said IBM’s mentorship helped them prepare their project proposal where they worked as a team to come up with workable solutions based on their user friendliness and cost effectiveness.

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