Delivering water to urban homes through smart metering and mobile payments – CityTaps

Water supply disconnections due to non-payment or faulty meters is a common issue for urban residents of Niamey, Niger[1]. Meanwhile, Niger’s national water utility faces challenges serving the poor with affordable and clean running water, while also reducing the physical and commercial losses it needs to remain financially sustainable.

In response to this, CityTaps has developed a water utility subscriber management solution that includes a smart prepaid water meter that uses Orange mobile money and M2M technologies. The solution allows households to make micro-prepayments for their water at any time using mobile money. CityTaps also provides a software management system and a subscriber management dashboard to monitor usage and performance of the meters remotely.

In September 2015, the GSMA M4D Utilities Innovation Fund awarded CityTaps a grant to launch 250 smart prepaid water meters in Niamey, Niger, in partnership with the local water utility, Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger (SEEN) and Orange Niger. In April 2018, CityTaps received another GSMA grant to continue scaling this service.

As of October 2018, CityTaps has installed 460 of its CTMeters. An initial survey revealed that 62 per cent of CityTaps customers are first-time mobile money users, and 88 per cent of surveyed users felt that their water spending had decreased since the project began. Ninety per cent of women using the service felt that they spent less time obtaining water. Building on the project funded by the GSMA M4D Utilities Innovation Fund, CityTaps plans to reach 200,000 people by the end of 2019 and more than two million by the end of 2022. The company has also been selected to participate in the OrangeFab France program, which will provide support to integrate and deploy its solution in other Orange-footprint countries, such as Burkina Faso, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. In October 2018, CityTaps raised one million euros and has received an order for 10,000 meters from SEEN to scale its service.[2]

The GSMA Mobile for Development (M4D) Utilities programme is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), USAID as part of its commitment to Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development and supported by the GSMA and its members.

[1] Our baseline surveys before the start of this project indicated that nearly 40 per cent of respondents had their water cut in the past year, with 80 per cent citing non-bill payment as the reason.

[2] Christoph Haushofer (6 December 2018), “Niger: CityTaps raises € 1 million and signs with Veolia Africa for prepaid water”, Afrik 21

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