The Togolese Water Company: satellite imagery to manage water supply services

The user

The Togolese Water Company (TdE) is mandated from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Hydraulics to provide clean water and sanitation services to householders and economic operators in urban and suburban areas. It ensures both the proper functioning of the production system and the drinking water distribution.

The challenge

The development of water infrastructure and networks in Togo has been hindered by persistent economic problems. As a result, the country has one of the lowest rates in terms of water access and quality service in West Africa (29,5% in 2007 and 33,89% in 2010).

TdE’s main objective is to improve water supply and access. In order to achieve that, TdE needed to reorganise the sector as per quality standards and sustainable development goals. However, the information about where the pumps, water towers and other infrastructure were located was scarce, as was cadastral data. For instance, until recently, TdE only had satellite images of six out of the 30 towns where it provides water.

The satellite solution

Since 2012, TdE has been improving its knowledge of water distribution and infrastructure by acquiring further satellite imagery with funding from the French Development Agency (AFD).

Satellite data, combined with ground surveys, allowed TdE to build a cartography of the water system. This allows the institution to control water tanks, pumps and other infrastructure remotely, and to monitor their status over time.

The results

TDE relies on satellite maps to regulate and grant the access to drinking water to public and private users. Moreover, the company uses such maps to plan new urban settlements close to existing water pumps, and to report on their position. In 2013, TdE used satellite imagery to map water infrastructure close to new public roads.

TdE will share this information with professionals in charge of other utility infrastructures, so that works can be jointly planned, for instance. Whenever a new infrastructure is likely to affect the water one, having precise information on its location will avoid the risk of damaging it. The information sharing system – under construction – will also provide information useful to other public and societal stakeholders.

Satellite imagery is crucial in monitoring the whole water supply system in real time. We can in turn provide a better service to the population, Ami SAMA, Togolese Water Company