‘e-Taps’ monitor flow at rural water points in sub-Saharan Africa and enhance revenue collection using pre-paid tags. Real-time, high temporal resolution e-Tap usage data is available to service providers. In this paper, robustness of the e-Tap is evaluated in the laboratory regarding (1) accuracy of the flow meter and (2) the flow rate reduction caused by addition of a y-strainer and debris build-up. An average relative error of +3.63% across varying flow rates is found. A general calibration will bring 95.45% of measurements within ±4.54% error range. In the y-strainer, smaller gauze sizes, smaller debris sizes, and higher debris loads cause greater flow rate reductions. The maximum reduction observed was only approximately 68% of the baseline flow rate. These physical findings can be integrated into software solutions to management problems.
An evaluation of a novel technology that is currently scaling across rural water supply systems in sub-Saharan Africa. This level of rigour is new for these technologies, and will direct development here and with other similar technologies.
The findings provide solutions to inaccuracies, and demonstrates that refinements to the technology can be made remotely, a which is novel. This has enormous potential benefits to the sustainability of water supply in this context.
Results provide a basis for predictive maintenance/cleaning.
The research here will act as a reference for other researchers working on flow rate reductions from debris build-up, or on flow meter accuracy for decentralised, small-scale, rural technologies.
The closest work focuses on lower-accuracy/resolution handpump sensors. The direct measurement evaluated here has three times greater accuracy.