A University of Zambia Civil Engineering lecturer has invented two water software pieces in order to enable better water management by water regulation authorities in the country.
Water Resource Managing Expert, Dr. Edwin Nyirenda described the NetWatBall software as a web-based platform for the management of Non-Revenue water.
“The NetWatBall software has functionalities which will help in effective mapping of water network assets of utility companies and tracking quantities of non-revenue water for the various water supply to districts from utility companies,” said Dr. Nyirenda.
Dr. Nyirenda noted that the software will assist in benchmarking among water utilities to facilitate a process for uniform approach in handling the challenges of managing non-revenue water and building, and providing a data bank for those with stakes in water network analysis.
“Zambia is losing a lot of water in what we call non-revenue water through leakages, abstractions, unauthorized or meter errors and each utility will atest to the fact that over 50 percent of the water they are producing cannot be accounted for,” Dr. Nyirenda said.
Dr. Nyirenda added that of the 100 percent which the water utility companies releases into their networks, a reconciliation with the water actually recorded as distributed to customers reveals large discrepancies.
The Water Expert said the NetWatBalL has been designed to ensure transparency and accountability in the area of water distribution to consumers.
“This software is one such of a gadget placed where you can do calculations for everybody and you can see where to target and try to improve a water utility in a direction where it is weakest,” explained Dr. Nyirenda.
He further explained that there are fourteen areas in which a utility must be managed, these are leakage control, public relations, asset management and human resource management, and this software will help guide in making improvements.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nyirenda described the Water Eye which is an acronym for Water Permitting System as a web-based system initiated to support the process of water permitting instrument.
He explained that the system has functions such as allowing for the process of systematic recording and administration of water permits for abstraction of water resources from the environment.
Dr. Nyirenda said water utility companies have to get licenses from NWASCO to allow them to operate adding that permits from WARMA will also give those with stake the grant to abstract water from the rivers which they eventually use varyingly according to their subjective requirements and needs.
“The goal is to try and see how people are using the permits and also if there is enough water still available in the rivers. That way WARMA can easily determine if they can continue to give permits,” he said.
Dr. Nyirenda reiterated that the two software pieces have been patented and there’s not been a trace of anything that comes remotely close to the two operating systems, adding that neighboring countries that see the importance and the need of this technology would likely invest into it.
He has since noted this innovation will greatly benefit the Zambian economy stating that reducing non-revenue water would translate into major savings of money that could be channeled to other sectors
The Water Expert, Dr. Nyirenda has over the past 18 years now been working at the perfection of the two water software’s with the help of Systems Development Expert Evans Nkole.
The software pieces would be managed under the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection ( MWDSEP), the Water Eye will be managed under WARMA and the NetWat-Ball will be managed under NWASCO respectively.