Could technology be the magic bullet that ends water scarcity?
By CAROLINE MWENDWA
A photo of a parched elderly woman somewhere in Turkana feebly holding up a bottle of Fanta on to her dry lips gulping down the sugary beverage with an angst of thirst and hunger was recently making rounds on the internet. The photo meant to portray the cruelty of drought on human life, leaves citizens with a melancholic question of what we could have done differently to save our compatriots from the throes of abject lack.
A 2008 UNEP report on water resources per capita shows that the renewable water resources per capita in Kenya is below 1,000 cubic meters, which determines the nation as a water-scarce country. With increased climate change, underdeveloped resources and a burgeoning population, the situation is bound to exacerbate. This is evident as the ramifications of drought recently hit hard on some parts of the country in close sequence.
It is indisputable that drinkable water is life, and its mere scarcity is a threat to humanity. Human beings are known to find solutions to challenges, without which frustration, ill health and even death ensues. Extreme water scarcity could lead to such desperate experiences. So what’s the solution? Could technology be the magic bullet that ends water scarcity?
Management magazine had an in-depth interview with Josfrider Mutua, Marketing Manager at Davis & Shirtliff, the market leader in water and energy solutions in Kenya, on various ways the company is facilitating highly innovative, state-of-the art water equipment in various parts of the country, and the continent.
Davis & Shirtliff’s mantra is ‘know H2O through experience’, and indeed this is truly the case for the over 7000 projects under its belt whose impact has improved many lives. “Davis & Shirtliff has been in the market for over 70 years, and it’s products and services have a footprint in virtually every corner of the country and seven more countries in Africa,” says Josfrider who has worked with the brand for 10 years. The company whose product and service offering is all inclusive, is enough proof that there is an infinity of possibilities of things we can do to transform dry and far flung areas through water equipment installations.
High quality solutions
The company deals in water pumps, borehole services, swimming pools, water treatment, generators, solar solutions and irrigation. “Through these services, D&S has improved people’s lives for the past 70 years through provision of clean water. We have sold nearly one million water pumps so far. We lead the industry and have trained people in water technology not only those that work in our company but also in other private and public companies,” she says.
One of the company’s tenets is ‘Altiora Peto’ a Latin phrase that means ‘I seek higher things’, or there is never acceptance of the status quo and change and improvement must be a continuous process. Davis & Shirtliff has undergone evolvement through continuous innovation, technology-wise and strategy-wise.
Having started out with a focus on bore holes and water supplies, most of the water supply infrastructure in Kenya until the mid-60 were installed by D&S. Today, the company has diversified its product offering to include a myriad of accessories including pumps and services such as swimming pool installation, water treatment and installation repairs among others. “We pride in unmatched quality having partnered with globally competitive water equipment suppliers and a team of highly skilled engineers whose expertise is continually honed through our resource centre training that exposes them to current technologies in the industry.” Innovation at D&S has been a business and impact accelerator. This is evident in the Dayliff brand, tailored for the local market offering high quality products at affordable prices.
With the realisation that the neediest areas in terms of water availability are far flung and installing equipment would require power which in most cases is not available, D&S came up with the solar and generator solutions, to ensure that lack of power does not serve as a hindrance to water accessibility.
A haven for farmers
One of the impediments to farmers scaling their agricultural practice is water availability. With all these solutions to water scarcity, D&S is no doubt an ally to the farmer. “We have recently reinforced our muscle with focus on irrigation and we envision a high impact especially in farming through this project” avers Josfrider.
“Innovation has once again been key in this endeavour through the development of iDayliff; a monitoring tool that enables us to remotely monitor pumps, generators and water treatment installations and in so doing, this saves the customer time and money by providing real-time information about the performance of the equipment,” she elaborates. Another recent innovation has been the development of the D&S Flo App that enables one to select and size products. For specialists, the App has additional interesting provisions like exploded diagrams for spare parts and an engineer’s tool box to mention a few. An e-Shop has also been established, accessible on this App it enables customers to buy products at their convenience and have them delivered to the nearest Davis & Shirtliff branch,” says Josfrider.
The leaps made by D&S and its consistency in quality of water services is a clear indication that in years to come, technology will multiply its impact not just in the continent but globally.
Caroline Mwendwa is the Editor Management Magazine. Email: email@example.com