By Kgaogelo Letsebe, Portals Journalist 5 March 2018

In the past months South Africa’s concerned citizens – in partnership with ICT business leaders and organisations – have been hosting hackathons in a desperate attempt to find viable technological solutions to the looming national water crisis.

Last week was no different, when global technology group Siemens SA hosted the inaugural two-day #DigihackAfrica2018 at Siemens Park in Midrand, Johannesburg, to identify reliable and efficient digital solutions to address Africa’s water and energy needs.

South Africa – particularly the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape regions – has been under a severe drought in the past months and the national government has declared it a national disaster. According to a statement released by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs last month, the government will “strengthen and support the disaster management structures to implement contingency plans and ensure that immediate relief, recovery and reconstruction measures are put in place to enable the national executive to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster”.

Siemens says hackathons have exited the elite territory of “tech gurus” and can include communities and social groups in various spheres to address Africa’s development needs.

“The event brought together 10 interdivisional teams from Siemens alongside IOT and digital industry experts from companies such as IBM, IoT.nxt, Atos and Wits University to work on ideas that have the potential to positively disrupt the IOT environment in Africa. Within the allotted two days, the teams, with all their hardware and software, developed working application prototypes and models, which demonstrated how their solutions will operate in a real life setting, along with some basic functionality,” explains Sabine Dall’Omo, chief executive at Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa.

Team Siewasser – made up of a few Siemens employees as well as employees from local firm IoT.nxt – were crowned the winners for their decentralised intelligent water management system.

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