Meet Peter Ruigu, a JKUAT Student Who Has Come Up With An Innovation To Monitor Water Tank Content
In developing countries such as Kenya, running piped water supply in most areas is limited to a few days per week and in other cases just some few hours in a day. So people have adapted to storing water when the tap is still running; with many people using Jerri cans since they’re the most affordable storage containers.
To those who can afford to have a water tank installed in their homes, this gives them greater advantage of piping the water from the water tank into taps inside their homes. That way, they can have the convenience of using water inside their houses piped from the water reservoir. But the main problem with water tank, is that you have to monitor it; to know when it’s about to get full or when it’s about to run dry. Although there are a plethora of technology devices out there that can help you accomplish this, today we share with you one innovator who has come up with his innovation that monitors tank water levels.
Without much further blurb, let us hear it from the innovator who debut his innovation at the JKUAT TECH Expo 5.0 held December, 2014.
My name is Peter Ruigu Ruhara. I am 21 yrs old and currently in my 3rd year at JKUAT pursuing a BSC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Tell us about your project.
My project is called the Water Level Indicator. It provides a simple and accurate way of determining the level of water in a storage tank.
It also includes a system that warns the user when their tank is almost full. Therefore, it eliminates the need to go out to where the tank is to check physically on how much water is in the reservoir.
It uses a sensor installed in the reservoir that communicates with a display unit. This unit gives an indication of the current level of water in the tank.
What inspired you to come up with this project?
At my home, we always faced the problem of wastage of water from our tanks. This happened when water overflows from the tanks when someone forgot to turn off the water pump.
In my area of residence, the water suppliers are quite unpredictable. Due to this, I also found myself having to climb up to the tank quite often to check how much water was left in it.
To solve these problems we were facing, I decided to build my project that I also enrolled into the JKUAT Tech Expo 5.0
Does your project address any socio-economic challenges in Kenya if so tell us about it?
The water overflow from the tanks and the lack of use of a system to track the level of the water in the tanks are very real problems. These circumstances give rise to the following inconveniences to the tank users:
- Water abruptly finishes in the tank because they could not tell the water level was too low.
- Wastage of energy and water while pumping water to the tank as they have no idea when it gets filled up, and the water starts spilling out of the tank.
- A lot of their time and physical energy is spent climbing up to the tank physically to inspect the level of water in the tank.
If you were to meet a Venture Capitalists, what reasons would you give him/her to invest in your project?
My project solves a very real problem that is faced by a large number of people and. Therefore, there is a large market. My solution is also made from low-cost components, so it is affordable.
During the days of the Tech Expo alone, the majority of the people who saw it confirmed that it was a problem they regularly faced. Many of them even wanted us to install the system for them.
Have you taken any steps towards getting a Patent rights or Copyrights to this project
Not yet, I’m currently making some improvements to it then I will apply for patent rights.
What were some of the challenges you’ve faced in executing your idea into a project that can be demonstrated?
The cost of buying the materials I needed was one of the challenges I faced. Some of the components were quite expensive, so I had to dig into my savings.
Another challenge was balancing my time between the project and school coursework to have the project finished by the deadline.
Lastly, I made many mistakes along the way due to lack of certain skills, e.g., soldering. I was able to fix them, so all was well in the end.
Did you have any guidance or a role model that helped you along the way in executing this project from just an initial idea you had?
No, I did not. However, I would like to express my gratitude to my classmate Ignatius Maranga (also appearing in the photos) for really helping me in my presentation of the project.
What advice can you give to fellow students (and African youths, in general) out there having big ideas, but no clue on how to begin implementing it?
My advice to them is just to get started with whatever little you have. Also, ask a lot of questions from people who have done it before and last but not least, utilize the vast amount of research material you can get on the internet.