Fish pro bono client CityTaps recently announced that they have met their initial milestone to provide access to safe, utility-piped water to 20,000 people in Niger.
CityTaps was established in 2015 after founder Grégoire Landel realized the enormous need for clean and affordable running water for every household, particularly for those in poor urban areas in the developing world.
Many solutions have been tested that aim to provide access to water in underdeveloped regions, but the majority fail to offer the financial sustainability that leads to continued impact.
CityTaps leverages both the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and a viable economic model to create its pioneering solution, CTSuite, which consists of a smart, pre-paid water meter (the CTMeter), and proprietary cloud software (CTCloud).
The suite works holistically to benefit suppliers and consumers by incentivizing water utility companies to extend their services to indigent urban populations and allowing subscribers to use their mobile phones to purchase “water credits” on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Fish launched its pro bono partnership with CityTaps three years ago, when principals Adam Kessel and David Feigenbaum began working with the organization to handle US and foreign patent prosecution for the CTMeter.
To date, Fish has helped CityTaps pursue patent protection in the US, and continues to work on seeking protection in Europe, Argentina, China, India, and Turkey, as well as in South Africa and Nigeria, among other African nations.
“We are honored to support client CityTaps’ development of its unique method of delivering water to those who need it most,” Feigenbaum said. “The Fish and CityTaps pro bono partnership is an excellent example of Fish utilizing its expertise in technological innovation for the greater good, enabling organizations like CityTaps to improve the quality of life for global citizens.”
Nearly three years ago, CityTaps began its pilot project, collaborating with both local water utility Société d’Exploitation des Eaux du Niger (SEEN) and telecommunications company Orange Niger to deploy 20 CTMeters in the Yantala Haut and Yantala Bas districts of Niamey, Niger.
After the success of the pilot, CityTaps is expanding the effort.
The first 100 meters have already been set up, with 40 CTMeters connecting households that previously had no access to utility-piped water, 21 CTMeters connecting households that had been disconnected, and 39 CTMeters connecting those who already had water service, but who opted for the CTMeter due to the convenience and flexibility that prepayment offers.
With 1,325 CTMeters being installed over the coming months, CityTaps will affect the lives of nearly 20,000 individuals in the area.
“It has been truly rewarding to see CityTaps’ success so far, and we look forward to continuing to work together on their important mission,” Feigenbaum said.
CityTaps is currently seeking capital for further growth, and is also creating an avenue to allow donors to give funds directly to subscribers’ CTMeters from abroad.
To learn more about Fish’s pro bono practice, please visit the pro bono page.
The opinions expressed are those of the authors on the date noted above and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fish & Richardson P.C., any other of its lawyers, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This post is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed.