Innovation That Matters

| Photo source © Oleg Magni from Pexels via

Providing drinking water in rural Sub-Saharan West Africa


A new business model uses solar technology to deliver affordable clean water to rural areas

Spotted: According to a WHO/ UNICEF report, the number of people without access to water is growing in Sub-Saharan Africa, with around 387 million people living without access to basic drinking water services in the region. Now, African water services company UDUMA has developed a unique model to help reverse this.

UDUMA takes charge of water supply equipment in a partnership with national and local authorities. The organisation undertakes to ensure its proper operation and maintenance for a period of 15 years. Securing funding from public and private sources to finance the upgrading of all water points, UDUMA consults with local communities to define their needs and the best solutions.

To make its services affordable for all local people, UDUMA employs several technological innovations. These include cashless, automatic standpipes which are powered by solar panels and operated using a RFID key. Water use is precisely monitored using the RFID technology and the company gets around the lack of banking services by allowing users to pay for their water consumption using personal, NFC ‘water cards’.

The organisation also employs local pump caretakers, mechanics, and sales agents, who all receive on-the-job training. The company is a subsidiary of Odial Solutions Group, a consortium of companies that operate energy and water systems in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Together, they serve several million people.

Helping rural and underserved populations access clean water is the subject of other innovations covered recently at Springwise, including solar-powered water pumps and modular, off-grid water and solar energy systems.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



Download PDF