The public-private-partnership project harnesses digital twin technology, AI, ML and satellite imagery, combined with blockchain-enabled water accounting
The city of Dire Dawa in Ethiopia and sustainable solutions specialist Nedamco Africa and its partners have announced the launch of a digital water management platform at the UN COP28 climate summit. Those participating in the public-private-partnership (PPP) include tech company Microsoft, Dutch non-profit water institute Deltares, leak detection specialist Hulo.ai and environmental innovation consultancy Isle Utilities.
Critical Water Challenges
The Nedamco Catchment-City-Waste (CCW) Water Management platform aims to directly address the critical challenges of water losses and inefficient management in rapidly urbanising regions like Dire Dawa. It embodies a holistic approach to water management by harnessing digital twin technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and satellite imagery, combined with blockchain-enabled water accounting. The platform aims to deliver comprehensive monitoring of water infrastructures, detect leakages, and make climate impact predictions to provide more access to water, more water availability as well as improved water quality.
Dire Dawa envisages that the deployment of the CCW platform will bring about a transformative shift in water resource stewardship, fostering a sustainable, resilient future for the inhabitants of the city. “We are proud to announce a pivotal project in partnership with Nedamco Africa that addresses Dire Dawa’s water challenges,” said Mohammed Mussie, CEO of Dire Dawa Water Supply and Sewerage Authority.
“Through cutting-edge technology, we are ensuring accurate, verifiable improvements in water management that will significantly enhance the quality of life for our city’s residents by providing more water. This initiative is not just about innovation – it’s about securing a sustainable future for Dire Dawa, opening doors to new financing for vital water infrastructure, and supporting our community in meeting the critical demands of water conservation aligned with SDG6 (Sustainable Development Goal 6).”
The approach involves integrating advanced technologies with near real-time data collection and analysis, enabling the accurate measurement of the environmental benefits derived from water conservation efforts. Nedamco Africa utilises tools from global technology leaders, leverages AI and ML models, high-resolution satellite imagery, and blockchain technologies. The tools facilitate a reliable, real-time tracking of water management and improvements, ensuring that the generated water data is not only verifiable but also transparent and scalable.
It leverages this approach to creating water certificates that employ the Volumetric Water Benefits Accounting (VWBA) 2.0 methodology, which allows for a comprehensive and quantifiable assessment of water management projects. By adhering to rigorous standards it can guarantee the created certificates reflect genuine improvements in water management, offering an asset in the global efforts to promote sustainable water usage and management.
The approach not only aids DDWSSA in effective water resource management but also opens new avenues for DDWSSA to attract innovative financing in water network development and community support, aligning closely with global sustainability goals like SDG6. “This initiative has a huge potential to impact the lives of many. When water distribution systems become smart, it presents an opportunity to market the digital proof of reduced losses from the system to companies that want to pay to compensate their water use, and in this way facilitate investment in utilities and their networks,” said Jelmer van Veen, first secretary for water affairs at Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ethiopia.
“I will keep supporting this initiative in Ethiopia where a pilot will take place in Dire Dawa and, we are tapping into a completely new market. This will accelerate private investments in the true spirit of the Water Action Agenda of UN23 to help reach SDG6 in time. We take pride in the Netherlands’ legacy of water management, transforming water challenges into opportunities for sustainable development.”
This public-private partnership initiative exemplifies the transformative potential of public-private partnerships, leveraging collective expertise, resources, and innovation to foster a green economy. By blending state-led environmental programmes with private sector dynamism and international climate finance mechanisms. “We see the Dire Dawa collaboration as a cornerstone for climate resilience, marking a significant public-private partnership that will lead the way for cities globally to embrace similar strategies,” said Michael Kogeler, CEO of Nedamco Africa. “This key initiative showcases the practical application of advanced technologies in combating daily climate challenges, especially in water-stressed regions.
“It’s a testament to Nedamco Africa’s commitment to not only address water scarcity but also enhance biodiversity. Our work in Dire Dawa is paving the path for more cities to join this battle against climate change, ensuring sustainable environments for future generations.”