ARUA. University graduates in software engineering under a software development company called ‘Volt Engineering Uganda Ltd are looking for Shs 30million in order to complete an invention of Digital prepaid meter for paying water bills.

They are; Charles Ayikoyo, Daniel Hagabimana and Ian Acidri who completed from Makerere university between 2016 and 2018 and started developing the digital prepaid water meter in 2017.

They have been using their savings and contributions from well-wishers in the process who saw sense in their idea but now the trio say they have reached a stage to pilot the idea and need money.

The lack of money prompted them to develop some of the parts of the meter hardware component like the circuit board manually as they could not afford an industrially made circuit board.

After achieving about 80 per cent of the inventory on their own at the end of 2020, continuing with the remaining components of the innovation has proven challenging as it requires larger sums of money for the team to raise Shs 30million.

With the technology, the metre uses cellular networks where water consumers pay their bills through mobile money where the system locks itself automatically once the money is exhausted.

ShardwareThe software and hardware components of the invented prepaid water meter system. PHOTO BY JOSEPH ODAMA

“We have been looking for our own money up to this far and some people lend in their hands to support us. Where we have reached now, we need funding because it is now beyond our pocket money”, Ayikoyo, the inventory team leader said.

The Shs 30million would be used to pilot 100 samples of the prepaid metre with all the components which have been industrially manufactured to be tested for six months.

The health of the metres is also checked through the computer system from the operation centre using an application created.

“When a meter breaks down in any location, there is a serial number on the metres that will show the database from various customers’ residences through Google maps. This helps in easy response to the repair processes”, Ian Acidri said.

According to the inventory team, the technology helps in conservation of water by users and convenience in terms of distance a metre is located within any given country.

“Cellular networks have a very large coverage. If I am here in Arua and the meter is in Kisoro or Rwanda or Burundi, I may pay from here and the water tap automatically opens where it is” Mr Daniel Hagabimana, another inventory member, said.

The technology, if adopted by the National water body, will save the government millions of shillings in terms of transport as technicians would not need to go physically to disconnect water in defaulter’s homes and would improve efficiency.