Updated Apr 01, 2019

Salvador Peña haro

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Discharge is a smartphone app for measuring flow rates in streams and in irrigation furrows. After less than 2 minutes the user obtains the flow velocity, water level, and discharge. Additionally proof images are stored and transmitted automatically to a database, which can be easily accessed by stakeholders using a web-platform. This innovation aims to improve data collection and accessibility...
Discharge is a smartphone app for measuring flow rates in streams and in irrigation furrows. After less than 2 minutes the user obtains the flow velocity, water level, and discharge. Additionally proof images are stored and transmitted automatically to a database, which can be easily accessed by stakeholders using a web-platform. This innovation aims to improve data collection and accessibility to increase knowledge about water availability and distribution and to improve water management.
How does your innovation work?
There are three main steps required to measure the discharge in an irrigation channel/furrow and in rivers using our App: 1) Introduce data related to geometry of the site: - Cross section. If not known, the cross section has be measured. Depending on the size of the site this can be done manually or by using other type of devices. - Coordinates of 4 reference points. To calibrate the app it is necessary to have 4 ground control points. These points can be anything, from a rock a tree or something placed in the sites for this specific task. The distance between such markers has to be measured. This data is easily introduce into the app and it is important to note that this step has to be done only once. 2) Take a measurement. Once the app is opened the user has to chose a site. Then by the click of a button the user is guided to take a video (using the in-built camera), the the user has to click on the markers and on the intersection between the water and the channel. Following the app will calculate the surface velocity and the discharge. 3) Upload the results. Once the app is done with the calculations (aprox. 45sec.) the user can send the results to the cloud using a GSM connection. In sites where there is not such a service data can be transmitted via SMS, if this service it is also not available the measurements will be stored locally. The results consist on proof image, and the following data: time, water height, velocity and discharge. Once step 1) is done, taking additional measurements will take around 2 minutes and only a smart-phone. Which makes taking and collection discharge measurements more effective.

Stage 3: Proof of Concept

In January 2017 we released our first version of the app on Google Play Store. It is being used on a regular basis in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda (but we have site in more than 10 countries), to measure the amount of water delivered to farmers. The data is collected on a database which can be accessed by stakeholders via a web-application.
Yes, currently we have 300 users in more than 10 different countries, where 162 sites are being set-up.
For us to consider that our innovation has been successful, it has to fulfill two points: 1) It should provide reliable results. 2) and it has to be accepted and used. Regarding the first point, we have done several comparison of our innovation against traditional systems (radar, tracer test, current meter and ultrasonic) giving an accuracy of 10%. The second point it is also very important, since once of the objectives of our innovation is that it should be easy to implement a site, the app should be easy to use and it should provide useful information. At the beginning the sites were set-up by members of our team and then the measurements were done by people that were trained. Lately we have seen people that is using our app without our intervention, which make the second point also successful.
Registered in Switzerlandin Switzerland

Focus Areas:

Natural Resources and Watersheds

Natural Resources and WatershedsSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya

Uganda, Tanzania and KenyaSEE LESS

Countries Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date

Mission and Vision

We expect our innovation to increase the amount of available data related to water use and availability. These data will change how decisions about water allocation and water resources planning are taken, and it will help to solve conflicts. All this will have a big and direct impact on farmers.

Competitive Advantage

Freshwater resources are being increasingly degraded and depleted. The increase in population and the uncertainty in future climate development are worsening the problem. These circumstances make it even more important to have good water management strategies. This is placing more pressure on water-related institutions to make better management decisions. However, efforts to increase knowledge about water distribution and management effectiveness are often hampered by the lack of sufficient data. This greatly restrains any effort towards effective water resources management, especially in places where the water resources are scarce, highly variable and where strong growth in water demand overlap with administration underfunding. Therefore there is a need of cheaper and easy-to-use methods for gathering information, including data regarding how much water is flowing in natural rivers and in man-made irrigation furrows. Rapid advancements in low-cost sensors, communication technology, hardware and software integration and its merging into smartphones, open up new perspectives. Our innovation can provide reliable, instantaneous data related to water flow in a channel or river. This information is critical to know the water use. In many places of the world water use in irrigation channels is not measured since classic ways to measure are expensive, need maintenance and are not easy to use. Our innovation uses a smart-phone to measure the water flow, it is very intuitive and easy to use. The cost are much lower than traditional systems. As far as we know there is no other innovation like ours. There is no App that can measure discharge and that can collect all that information for the use of the stakeholders. We believe that our innovation can substantially improve water management.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Our goal in the long term is that data is collected through crowd sourcing and that these data are used to improve water management and conflict resolution. To achieve this, the first step is to make our innovation known and to develope capacity building. During the last years we have been deploying the app in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda (between other countries). We consider the capacity building was successful because after the training the local users still using the app on regular basis with good results. Nonetheless they don’t have enough resources to out scale (set-up new sites and to buy new smart-phones for more users). More funding will be very helpful for expanding the use of our innovations to new countries, and to expand its use in countries where it is already being used.
There are three groups of tasks that are needed: - Methodological: Streamline the process of site implementation and user feedback on data quality. - Technological: increase user guidance and feedback to reduce required teaching time. - Usage: This is the main part on our plan for growing. We want that is widely used, however and in order to keeper growing and to expand our innovations additional financial resources are needed to invest in on-line teaching material and user guidance. In order to reach large user numbers, we will implement our franchising business model. Franchisees will help to out scale the technology. Will will teach the franchisees who will teach more franchisees, which will cascade the number of users.
Funding Goal1,000,000


Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
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New Country Implemented In
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New Country Implemented In
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New Country Implemented In