“Intelligent tap” provides innovative water supply solution to people in rural Malawi

A woman draws water from an automated tap at a water kiosk in Lilongwe, Malawi, on Oct. 30, 2020. (Xinhua/Joseph Mizere)

In Malawi, people in the rural communities are using cards to get water from water kiosks which at first were being operated by kiosk operators. The innovation has eliminated a number of challenges including high cost of operation, integrity and time.

The innovation is called “intelligent tap” (Itap) because the taps have been automated allowing each user to have a self and safe transaction when buying water from a kiosk. The development has brought a sigh of relief among many households because of its efficiency, convenience and integrity.

Unlike in the past, water users will now be able to access water supply at any time of the day as long as their cards are recharged with the required money.

A sixty-year-old Merina Masangano said the new automated taps installed in her area will ease water problems that the area has been facing for a long time. According to her, Itaps are easier to use and she is very optimistic that her fellows in the area will get used with the innovation.

“For the past years we have seen different kinds of water kiosks being installed in our area, but no kiosk managed to solve major challenges that we face in our rural setup when it comes to accessing clean and cheap water. Sometimes, kiosk operators would just raise water prices on their own and this had a bad impact on our finances since most of us here are from low-income homes,” Masangano said.

“Furthermore, longer lines have been eliminated since anyone can come at any time to draw water. with this new innovation we are now able to access cheap water as set by the water supplying because the automated tap is always accurate and prices are fixed, no person among us can change them,” she said.

Mayamiko Nkoloma, innovator and managing director of iMoSyS, the company behind the innovation developed the Itap this year said that the innovation has so far received recognition in Malawi and beyond. Meanwhile, Itap has been exported outside Malawi.

“The innovation seeks to solve challenges that people in the local communities are facing in trying to access clean and portable water. This innovation is time and cost-efficient for both water supply companies and the water users,” Nkoloma said.

“With this innovation, people will now be able to use their mobile money wallets recharge their water cards at the same time water supplying companies will be able to track their revenue from these kiosks through the internet,” he said.

Nkoloma believes that Malawi can do great in terms of science and innovations. The Itap project is being implemented across Malawi.