CityTaps has developed a solution that bridges the gap between water utilities and the urban poor: a prepayment service that comprises the world's only smart and prepaid water meter, and a billing software.
Nearly a billion people living in cities in the developing world lack running water at home (JMP, 2017). Without running water, the urban poor, pay a triple tax on poverty in time, money, and health to access low-quality water. CityTaps partners with water utilities to solve two major problems:
1. The inability of water utility companies to extend their services, particularly to the very poor, due to lack of revenue; and
2. The difficulty for the urban poor to access clean piped water at home, pay for water services, and remain connected over time.
Why our solution will solve the problem:Our system helps utilities become financially independent and able to invest in infrastructure for at-home water service to even the poorest residents. Beneficiaries use mobile money to prepay for running water with any mobile phone, at any time, for any amount, and improve their household budget. Running water in the home is substantially cheaper, more convenient, and healthier than any alternative.
Our solution's stage of development:Growth
Our target outcomes:
Households access higher quality water more reliably and can better manage their time and other monthly expenses. PAYG technology gives households the financial flexibility to avoid costly, monthly bills found in traditional post-paid system. We directly link household mobile phones to the utility’s systems and mobile money.
Our meter-as-a-service generates payment and hydraulic data in near real-time for operational and commercial optimization. Mobile money prepayments eliminate working capital needs and the expenses of water meter reading, billing and collection, while giving utilities access to financing to maintain and expand networks to reach underserved areas.
The populations we will benefit initially:
The regions we will benefit initially:
The countries we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
We achieve the highest possible impact - through piped water at home - at the lowest cost to all parties. For the urban poor, we lower barriers to home connections by incentivizing utilities to expand services, and eliminate the opportunity and social costs of fetching water. CTSuite saves direct users time and money, and improves health.
For utilities, we alone produce a prepaid and smart water meter capable of data generation, command-and-control, and prepayment for water services. CityTaps innovates by permitting any type of cloud-based payment from any phone at any time, allowing the urban poor to become reliable customers.
Why our solution is human-centered:
The urban poor rely on second-class solutions (e.g.: standpipes, water delivery services) that are often unreliable, expensive and of inferior quality. Women and children bear the burden of procuring water from these alternative sources.
Those with piped connections face difficulties with postpaid systems. The urban poor’s often variable incomes mean that unpredictable and complicated post-payment bills, and time-consuming payment processes lead to high delinquency and disconnection rates.
Mobile money prepayments give the urban poor the financial flexibility to make micropayments that correspond to irregular incomes so that they can always be connected to safe, clean drinking water at home.
How people will access our solution:
The water utility deploys the CTSuite and gives customers the opportunity to prepay for water using mobile money. Mobile money is highly accessible and eliminates time-consuming bill payments. In our Niamey, Niger pilot project, beneficiaries reported savings of up to 94% with piped water and 90% of women and girls reported that they spent less time obtaining water after the installation of the CTMeter.
Technology-Readiness Level:6-8 (Demonstration)
Where we are located:
How long we have been working on our solution:2 years
How long it will take to develop a pilot:We have already developed a pilot.
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:3-6 months
We're looking for partners in these fields:
Why we're applying to Solve:
CityTaps’ innovative solution has the potential to dramatically and quantifiably improve the lives and well-being of a billion people who do not have access to water in the home. It is our goal to work together to make access to running water in every urban home a reality. It would be an honour for CityTaps to be recognized as an MIT Solver and to benefit from the extensive network as well as utilize the platform to grow our company and share our vision.
- Grégoire Landel CEO, CityTaps