GreenCityzen and the United Nations secure water delivery in African refugee camps using LoRaWAN®


The Things Network User

Posted on 03-08-2020

French eco-startup GreenCityzen is deploying an end-to-end solution on behalf of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)'s WASH department (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) to secure water delivery and control payment for the quantity delivered to refugee camps in Africa. This project aims to secure water supplies of 15 camps hosting nearly 2 million refugees in Uganda and Ethiopia.
To this end, we are partnering with The Things Network to deploy a LoRaWAN network, while the French start-up has installed a network of 300 sensors with an IoT platform that continuously monitors available water stocks and truck deliveries.

This UNHCR WASH project is unprecedented in the world and is intended to be replicated for all emergencies requiring mobile water supply infrastructure. The world's largest refugee camp, the iconic Bidibidi camp was the first to be equipped in November 2019.

During The Things Virtual Conference, the CEO and Co-founder of Greencityzen Francois Hamon discussed this use case and explained the process of deploying LoRa networks in remote areas such as an Uganda refugee’s camp:

Implementation of LoRaWAN networks

1. The infrastructure components

During the pre-project phase, we designed the technical infrastructure we would need to successfully carry out this use case and adapt it to this new environment.

The infrastructure we used:

  • Ultrasonic Level sensors: 300 sensors from 2 specifics manufacturers were installed on water tanks

  • Gateways: we deployed 7 Kerlink gateways all around the defined area

  • The Things Network LoRaWAN Network Server to manage the Kerlink gateways

  • The GreenCityzen Business application to:
    -manage the fleet of sensors,
    -monitor the key indicators and generate alerts,
    -help the UNHCR make the best decisions and control invoicing of their water tank suppliers

2. Integration

Since we chose two different types of sensors, we had to make sure that the integration on our platform was effective. We used the payload decoding wrapper available on The Things Network to manage 2 different sensors and converge the data on a single platform.

3. Decision tools

We provide a business application with specific dashboards, map displays and settlement descriptions to bring value to the user. More than collecting and visualizing data, the business application helps users make the best possible decision.

What KPI was relevant to highlight in this use case? As the solution is installed in Uganda, some parameters could not be assessed by the United Nations. How often do the trucks deliver water, or does the pumping system work? We worked with the UNHCR to decide and design the most efficient dashboard:

KPIs and Alerting have 3 main objectives

Water delivery volume dashboard

Looking back on this experience, the role of The Things Network global open LoRaWAN Network was key in saving us time and reducing costs. "We would like to thank The Things Network team and its collaboration during this project, TTN helped us to accelerate the deployment and to build an open solution for future projects we will work on together", GreenCityzen Team.

About GreenCityzen

GreenCityzen develops Industrial IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) end-to-end solutions to serve the environment.
Our industrial IoT solution includes smart, low cost, low power sensors connected thru Sigfox or LoRa radio network to our interoperable cloud platform.
The uses cases are numerous: Water supply, Tanks monitoring, Sewer networks monitoring, Energy and Air Quality monitoring, Smart watering, Frost alert...

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