“Maji ni rasilimali ya hali ya juu, yenye mahitaji yanayozidi kupanda, inayosimamiwa vibaya, huku mabadiliko ya hali ya anga yakizorotesha tatizo la maji”. Tazama mazungumzo yetu na William Sarni, aliye Mwanzilishi na Ofisa Mtendaji Mkuu wa Water Foundry, ili kusikia maoni yake kuhusu mada hii miongoni mwa zingine, na anavyotazamia kushirikiana na wengine ili kusuluhisha tatizo la maji.
”Tukisuluhisha tatizo la maji tutakuwa tumesuluhisha masuala mengine mengi yanayohusiana na tatizo hili, kama vile suala la usawa wa binadamu.
I am a big fan, supporter, of democratizing access to data and actionable information. Public policy changes very slowly, but a way to get the public policy to change is to increase awareness of the issues with consumers and customers, and other stakeholders and give them data and information that they can use to make better decisions and push for public policy change.
A TWO-WAY RELATIONSHIP
I think historically the water utility sector has had a one-way relationship with customers and consumers.
That’s changed again through technology where you can have an app that engages the utility in a two-way dialogue, on how much you are using compared to your neighbors, information on potential leaks… things like that.
I think a good example is what has happened in Flint-Michigan in the U.S., where a city was drinking lead-contaminated water from the tap and really didn’t know about it for relatively a long period of time.
THE PATH TO DIGITALIZATION
So how do you build a culture and a strategy around supporting those members of your workforce or your community, in understanding the value and having the tools and the freedom to experiment and adopt these technologies?
Another piece of the puzzle is not necessarily building last century technology; so, the ability to leapfrog to 21st-century technology.
So, being more creative and thinking more about what are the hybrid solutions that are out there that were not available to us a short period of time ago.
And I think there is another piece of the puzzle which is: Who pays for the expensive infrastructure?
NO BETTER SHORTAGE OF ADVANCE
Well, the status quo is killing us.
Water is a finer resource, increasingly in demand, poorly governed and climate change makes it all worse rather. What that means is that extreme weather events; flooding, increased scarcity, sea-level rise… which is more than just rising sea level, it’s saltwater intrusion if you are a city like Miami that is more prone to flooding, but also now has saltwater intrusion into their aquifers. There is no shortage of advance that we are now challenged by.
Even the “wash your hands” during the pandemic. Solve water and you solve a number of other related issues like, you know, equity issues. Lack of access to safe drinking water impacts women and children disproportionally; it impacts disadvantaged economically distressed communities more than others.
I also view water as the glue in humanity. It is something that we should all rally around because it is one of the things that we have in common: that need for water and that connection to water.
Yes, we can solve water… so, let’s do it.