Year/Course: 2021-2022
Global i-Team: Nairobi

Contact: Alex Patto, WaterScope
Mentor: TBC

WaterScope is a Cambridge-based social enterprise that has developed a simple-to-use solution for testing water for bacteria. The system is patented and initially will be manufactured and assembled in the UK and China. It is being designed to meet the European standards for water testing in terms of sensitivity, and has been field-tested in Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia.

The WaterScope system greatly simplifies the process of collecting and testing water samples: it enables anyone to conduct a test, producing results equivalent to the gold-standard lab methods. It is versatile, producing initial results in 8 hours and complete results in 18 hours. Also, the system is digital, using machine learning to identify bacteria, which can then be uploaded to a database for dissemination and mapping. The system detects E. coli and coliforms in water.

The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate and advise WaterScope on how to engage the market for water testing in Kenya. The system is probably too expensive to be sold to individual households, so it would probably need to be funded by business, government or NGOs. However, as it can be operated by a non-specialist with tertiary education, such as a teacher or health worker, local water supplies can be tested regularly. i.e. gold standard water quality monitoring can be achieved effectively at a much lower cost than present systems that require specialists to travel to remote locations. The WaterScope product will be ready for distribution before the end of 2022 and the company will need to have distribution networks in place before then. This is where the i-Team can help.

Specific questions for the i-Team to investigate by interviewing relevant organisations and experts include identifying where there would be most demand for the system, investigating potential local partners for WaterScope and exploring the regulatory requirements in Kenya.