Finalist category: BT Young Pioneer Award
BT Young Pioneer Award, Winner, 2016
30,000 people die each week in Sub-Saharan Africa from drinking unsafe water, despite billions of pounds having gone into installing over 800,000 hand pumps. This is largely due to lack of maintenance and ongoing funds to maintain these pumps, so, once the pumps are installed, they deteriorate, no-one maintains them, and no-one fixes them when they break. The result is billions of pounds spent on hand pumps that are rapidly rendered useless.
The eWATERPay system, designed and created by Jack Hygate, Connor Humphreys and Laurence Bu-Rashid, all year 10 students at Park House School in Newbury, enables water pumps installed in African villages to be effectively monitored and maintained for the first time ever.
With almost every household in Gambia and Senegal owning a mobile phone, the team utilised this technology and created an app that enables people to pay a small amount of money (around half a penny for a 20 litre jerry can) to dispense a set measure of water from a tap. The revenue made from the sale of the water goes back into maintaining that particular hand pump, and the app keeps track of how often the water pumps are being used, and determines when a pump may need repair.
Until now there has been no way to charge for water, even just nominal amounts that can facilitate the upkeep of the taps, and there has been no way to know whether the taps are out of action. This use of technology to measure water, track accounts and identify out-of-action water pumps is unique.