Unesco Green Citizens

CityTaps: Running water in urban areas

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Project begin: 03/06/2015

Witnessing the problems of water scarcity in poor urban areas, Grégoire Landel decided to take action. He created a device that brings water to one billion urban dwellers who do not have access to running water at home. 

To bring running water to every urban home, CityTaps has developed a solution that bridges the gap between water utilities and the urban poor: a prepayment service that comprises the world’s only smart and prepaid water meter, and a billing software. This solution helps utility companies reduce Non-Revenue Water and identify leaks to avoid water loss. It also helps utility companies reduce debts and improve their balance sheet so they can extend their network and serve more people with running water at home, mainly in poor urban areas. 

Running water in the home is substantially cheaper, more convenient and healthier than any alternative. Grégoire Landel’s innovative solution has the potential to dramatically and quantifiably improve the lives and well-being of a billion people who do not have access to water at home. It is their goal to work together to make access to running water in every urban home a reality.

Leading organisation: CityTaps
Covered Countries: Niger
Theme: Hydrology
Sub-themes: Access to water, Urban areas, Water scarcity and quality
Tag: #Africa
Selection: 2020
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Initial Problem

One billion urban dwellers do not have access to clean running water at home. The lack of access to running and clean water can cause health problems for people living in poor urban areas. Indeed, many of them may not be able to pay monthly bills and the high upfront connection costs needed to get access to running water, due to their irregular incomes. 

Substitutes such as public water points, delivery services and chlorine pills, can be up to 15 times more expensive than utility piped water and are often of low quality and unreliable. Women and girls are most affected, spending over 200 million hours fetching water every day. Global urbanisation tends to exacerbate the strain on water utility infrastructure with African cities alone growing 5% every year. Water utilities cannot serve everyone due to a lack of money to invest in infrastructure in order to reach the poorest people living in cities

The positive impacts that the project has made:

Over 1500 homes connected, improving the health and finances of thousands of people. Women do not have to spend most of their day travelling to get water, which is often not clean. Lost water is identified in real time. Utilities are prepaid for their water, helping them reduce debts and spend money on extending their network for more people. Low income families can prepay for water as and when they like with mobile money and do not receive huge bills and incur huge debts.

The impacted areas and populations :

The people this scheme will impact live in the poor urban areas of countries such as Niger, Kenya, Senegal…. For example, through a pilot project in Niger from 2016 to 2019,1,325 water connections were equipped with CityTaps solutions, directly having a positive impact on 13,250 people (households are of 5 people in average). More than two thirds of impacted people earn less than 10 US dollars a day and one third of them are under the age of 13 years old.  By 2022, the initiative wants to impact 2 million people in poor urban areas. 

The obstacles and challenges

Each utility company and environment is unique so they have to adapt to each organization. They are a small and agile team, so they partner with the utilities and work closely together.

In the next few years, CityTaps would like to scale to other countries and find other utilities who need help to bring running water to urban homes all over the world ! 

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