Water in need of tech revolution or taps will run dry

Water headache: Why have the smart and gifted hands neglected the all-crucial water provision? FILE PHOTO | NMG
Water headache: Why have the smart and gifted hands neglected the all-crucial water provision? FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The city of Cape Town is running out of water, the local government has given notice to residents. They have experienced a prolonged dry spell that is seemingly bringing the picturesque seaside city to its knees.

We tend to take a lot for granted in Kenya, especially populations found in cities and the highlands, where water can be easily accessed, whether it’s by a walk to the river or simply drilling a borehole.

A trip down major arteries of the city will have you see blue coloured trucks strategically located near residential estates, waiting for the call to deliver a payload where the borehole pump is broken or the city’s supply has been cut for one reason or the other.

Provided we have an individual or household mitigation in place, we don’t think much of the matter and have accustomed ourselves to it and the attendant costs. We are one dry spell away for a citywide, and dare I say national disaster at the rate we are going.

We seem to be innovating on almost all other fronts except that of water and it may be our biggest disservice yet.


We know how the precious commodity comes about in nature but are constantly doing the exact opposite of what we should to retain and expand catchment areas and better manage plus use that which we can capture.

What does that have to do with technology?

Well, for starters, we already know that afforestation and reforestation are at the core of any green agenda, and we have adequate and expanding access to tree science that enables us to know what can do well where and also what it takes to ensure sustainability.

We also have the technology through sensors, drones, the much famed Internet of Things and big data that can assist us in nurturing and monitoring afforestation and reforestation.

The question, therefore, is, why do we not see more companies and individuals apply themselves more to this end of things?

My take is that actions are poorly incentivised. For example, in ‘going green’ conversations everyone is onto solar while on corporate social responsibility, many are still stuck on education and other initiatives.

We need to act fast and innovate around water; its sustainable creation, distribution and conservation.