Design and Construction of a pre-paid water meter
Enyangat Ekiira, Wilson
MetadataShow full item record
A number of people across Africa still face a problem with accessing affordable safe water. This is more evident in the urban-poor areas (slums) with few individual connections, residents source their water from a mix of public water points and private water vendors. They often walk several kilometers and queue for free water from unsafe wells or streams, or pay water vendors for the same water nearer their homes. Purchasing treated clean water at a shared water supply yard tap often brews conflict over payments, hence most yard taps become idle when the utility company disconnects the water supply due to non-payment of outstanding bills. The promise of access or improved coverage is eroded when service points are disconnected and where intermediaries inflate the price of treated water. Conventional water metering and billing has a tendency of being inaccurate, unreliable and a source of dispute and disquiet among customers hence one of the primary reasons why water service providers perform poorly and have very low revenue collection figures. The result of this poor performance spirals into poor management, ineffective maintenance, inaccurate billing and high non-revenue water. This project explores the potential of prepaid meters for serving and delivering clean water to the urban poor communities. As a result this project focused on the design and construction of a prepaid water meter systems. A number of design criteria were carried out and a working schematic was produced using solid works, solid edge Siemens (ST9) software, Arduino software and Proteus professional 8.5. These soft wares were to simulate, draft three Dimensional models, build circuit board simulation, write and debug the system program as will be explained in detail as you peruse through the report. The construction process involved the usage of components such as a water flow sensor that monitors flowrate, a solenoid valve that opens and closes when it is magnetized so as to regulate water flow, a GSM module that communicates between the utility company and the consumer presenting a two-way communication, an LCD screen for displaying data such as amount of water purchased, balance remaining, voucher number, an Infrared sensor that is used to minimize water theft by setting off an SMS alert to the utility company. Arduino Integrated Development Environment that was used to write and upload the program to run the entire system. When volume flow rate tests were carried out, it was noted that there is a slight variation in volume flow rate for the different volumes. It was noticed that the time varies for each amount of litres at a given pressure. The results suggest that the lower the number of litres purchased, the lower the flow rate. From the test results obtained when the valve is partially opened for a conventional water meter, it was also noted that there is a significant increment in time required to draw the same amount of water as compared to the prepaid water meter. This project introduced a wonderful opportunity to promote a new approach to water consumption by reducing commercial losses encountered by the water utility company through the implementation of a two-way-communication feedback system ensuring a quick and accurate reconciliation of consumer water bill accounts hence improvement in revenue collection geared towards better service delivery, management, monitoring and billing it is convenient for the customer because of its ability to execute correct and accurate billing of customer water accounts.