Software Development for the Water Sector
The water sector in the last 20 years has undergone radical paradigm shifts arising from the crisis of global proportions that have characterized the sector, prompting many international fora, including the Dublin conference in January 1992. One of the responses from academic institutions to this crisis is the development of computer-based predictive tools for better and more accurate prediction of the variables that affect water use and management. In the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, attempts have been made to develop software to aid planning, management, and decision making in the water sector. Two of such software are Wadessy - a water distribution network design software, and a groundwater flow modelling software GEMFLOW that is based on the Green element method (GEM). Although their engines are quite robust and have been applied in field studies in Botswana and Zimbabwe, and compare favourably with published models, their elegance in terms of graphical user interface (GUI) is still rudimentary. The cost for their development has been mainly in the training of postgraduate students who have assisted in their development. Industry uptake has been very limited, which is one of the reasons why their GUIs are still rudimentary. With greater investment into the development and marketing of these and many other software, the potential exists to have “made-in-Africa” software with capabilities comparable, if not better than, those developed in more advanced countries. This paper reports on these software, compares these with similar initiatives in more advanced countries, and discusses the challenges in development, funding, and uptake by industry. The experiences described herein are most likely to be similar with other software development initiatives in sub- Saharan Africa.
Prof. A.O. Akii Ibhadode
A. E. Taigbenu and A. A. Ilemobade, "Software Development for the Water Sector ", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 18-19, pp. 543-548, 2007