charity : water

How we used IoT and the cloud to safeguard clean water for 100 million people.

Sensors monitor remote wells for maintenance


Thankfully for the nearly 785 million people across the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water, charity : water has spent the last 13 years building a network of clean drinking water for local villages and communities. With over 50,000 wells in 28 countries, getting the water flowing is just the start: wells break down, and remote maintenance meant that communities would lose their access to quality drinking water.

Clean water access means less disease and better access to education

Work Summary

In the toolbox:

  • Digital Solution Roadmap
  • Cloud Architecture & Development
  • Edge Device Design & Development
  • User Experience Design
  • Sensor Design & Development
  • Algorithm Development

Charity : water tapped Twisthink’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT connectivity to advance their ideas about using new technologies to move their operation beyond just building wells.

Our product design imagined ways to:

  • Monitor water flow remotely anywhere in the world
  • Analyze the data and alert teams to water flow and pump issues
  • Schedule proactive and predictive maintenance for water pumps
  • Deploy teams to address pump issues and restore water flow


In the digital sensor pilot, thousands of sensors have been deployed into the field.

By detecting issues and dispatching prompt repairs as necessary, water kept flowing while also being safeguarded for an estimated 100 million people.

Tech Spotlight:

Data from the well sensor is sent to the cloud and is accessed via AWS-powered dashboards, cloud APIs, user alerts + mobile app.

Strategy Spotlight:

Met with key stakeholders and hosted a full-day workshop to understand the overall journey from identifying a need, to installing a new well, all the way through maintenance. This uncovered opportunities to deliver new value through AI and IoT.

Design Spotlight:

Our prototype + UX process determined that the sensor should be within the pump. A long-life battery allows it to last up to 10 years.


“The goal was to see if we could take a pump in the middle of Ethiopia, connect it to the cloud, see how much clean water was flowing over time, and know that the community would continue to be served over time.”

– Scott H.

CEO of charity : water and global well restorer


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