The MENA region suffers from some of the highest rates of water scarcity in the world. In fact, IPS reports that over 60 percent of the region’s population have no access to drinkable water, and over 70 percent of the region’s GDP is exposed to high water stress. While the main causes are related to droughts and floods, poor water management is a major setback for the region.
In Palestine, the water situation is unsustainable. With poor infrastructure and a basic lack of control over natural resources, the socio-economic wellbeing of thousands is left on the verge of collapse. To illustrate this, the average Palestinian only has access to approximately 73 liters of water per day, however water consumption can go as low as 18 liters for many, compare that to World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) minimum global standard set at 100 liters per person per day.
MENACatalyst caught up with Baker Bozeyeh to learn how his new startup Flowless is tackling water stress in Palestine, and potentially the greater MENA region.
Can you talk a little about your background and how this inspired you to start Flowless?
Palestine suffers from extreme water stress, and for some regions, the daily per capita of water consumption can go as low as 18 liters. Yet, we are losing USD 45 million on water losses every year. This calls for efficient management and planning to stop depleting this precious resource.
As an expert in water networks management and leak detection, I have experienced the flaws in the conventional approach used in water networks management, which is inefficient and time-consuming, leading to high operational costs and water leaks. I developed a clear vision of how an efficient management system should work, using state-of-the-art technologies and following a proven method to increase the efficiency of water supply and promote the sustainability of resources.
What is FlowLess and how does it work?
FlowLess is tackling the problem of water scarcity by providing smart solutions for water networks management, consisting of IoT devices for networks monitoring, and artificial-intelligence-assisted analysis through FlowLess web platform. Our system helps water service providers automatically monitor and control water networks, reducing losses and improving quality and quantity of water supply and enhancing the lives of millions of people.
The integration of IoT devices for data collection and machine learning algorithms for data analysis provides a powerful tool that helps in understanding the unique characteristics of each network and therefore accurate and timely detection of leaks and forecasting of future incidents.
We are adopting lean manufacturing methodologies to help us produce the smart components on demand. And we have a flexible business model that allows us to customize services based on our customers’ needs. Our operations on site are very limited, and therefore hardly hinder our expansion. Our main objective is to achieve impact.
What are the competitive advantages of FlowLess?
1. Comprehensive Solution: Full package of products and services to provide utilities companies with all the tools needed to manage their network, track consumption, and monitor progress.
2. Market reach: The experience and connections we have in the target market and the partnerships with different parties make it easier for FlowLess to penetrate the market. It is also worth mentioning that we are the first Palestinian startup to provide this package of comprehensive solutions.
3. Flexibility: FlowLess system is flexible and highly customizable to meet customers' needs. Various new features could be easily integrated like water quality monitoring and control modules for valves and pumps.
4. Low-Cost: Compared to other systems.
5. Automation: Analysis and interpretation process is carried out automatically utilizing artificial intelligence. FlowLess algorithms use complex analysis based on collected data and calculating multiple indicators to detect leakage.
Who are you targeting with FLowLess?
We are initially targeting water service providers in Palestine, which are usually public institutions like municipalities. Our client base is increasing rapidly as we offer solutions to more municipalities in Palestine and abroad. FlowLess system has proved to be an efficient solution to replace the traditional water networks management, reducing human intervention and increasing water supply efficiency. We are constantly developing new solutions and adding new features as we address the specific needs of each client, providing a wide and flexible range of products and services for monitoring water consumption and water quality.
Do you have any plans to expand Flowless outside of Palestine?
At this stage, we are contacting several NGOs and actors in the water sector in Palestine and in the region to help us expand and reach new customers outside of Palestine. This process has already proven to be of great benefit as we applied it in Jordan and secured our first customer there. Also, we plan to execute projects in collaboration with other companies or utilities, which makes it easier to expand regionally.
How is your team helping to take FlowLess to the next level?
We are a team of enthusiastic young professionals looking to make a change and achieve an impact. Osama Hnini is an electrical engineer and expert in electronics and IoT devices. He works on developing the Flowless smart meters and IoT devices. Eyad Arafat is our creative Web Developer and Designer who has great experience in front end and back end design. He is responsible for developing the FlowLess web platform. Ahmad Abu Arra is a water engineer and infrastructure modeling analyst, working on hydraulic analysis of water networks to improve water supply and reduce losses.
What is the impact you are working to achieve?
According to World Bank reports, the global annual losses due to non-revenue water is USD 14 billion, a third of which is in developing countries. Reducing by half the current level of global losses could generate an additional USD 2.9 billion in cash every year for the water sector and potentially service an more than 90 million people with no new investments.
Our vision is to help water service providers improve water supply efficiency by minimizing losses. This would improve the lives of millions by reducing network management costs and losses. With FlowLess, we help provide a more affordable and sufficient supply of water. And to start things off, we are initially targeting water service providers in Palestine, followed by opportunities throughout the greater MENA region.
The greater impact is that reducing water losses would help preserve sustainable water resources. And with freshwater availability reaching an all-time low in most countries, the depletion of water resources is negatively contributing to climate change. We are fighting the negative effects of climate change by improving the efficiency of water distribution networks.
What type of support are you looking for to get to the next level?
We are looking for technical support in the fields of machine learning, data analysis, strategic planning, and business development. We are also looking to increase our exposure and establish new connections. We are currently fundraising to cover the costs of piloting in Palestine and expansion to Jordan.
To learn more about FlowLess visit: http://flowless.co/en/
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