Virtual Water Commons


Using the 50 litre per person per day basic water allowance derived from the SA Bill of Rights, to power a use/contribution commons via an online/app.

The video is at


This can complement a smart metering system as a means of guaranteeing that people get the water they are entitled to.


thanks so much. Got it.


Thank you Michael for opening the topic on OSCE Days. The project is my own proposal and the summary needs to be expanded to include:

Virtual Water & Water Commons

Two paths:

a) Biz utility and/or app

b) Social utility and/or app

In essence 3rd Party Reticulation involving …

  1. Price negotiation

  2. Ration and Surplus re-allocation

  3. “Once Allocated, Always Allocated”

  4. This means both the low-income ration and the crisis ration.

Creating Incentives amongst users to save water since they are now able to redeploy their rations, either by giving the ration to their neighbour in a case where they under-utilise the allocation, or pooling the resulting surplus for resale to other users who need more than the basic allocation.

System would require some amendment to existing bylaws, since currently users cannot resell water, however proof of concept would be relatively easy:

Stage One: A simple “smart water metre” or even just a sensor attached to the current metres, would post data of consumers use to an online utility.

First step would be to demonstrate that any surplus generated by the user could be shifted to other users in the pool, or their neighbours via a common ledger.

Stage Two, the utility takes over the billing between user and city, resulting in 3rd party reticulation.

In some respects, the system would create Virtual Water, since a user could carry his or her ration allocation around on a smart card, and thus be able to literally insert card into the system whenever and wherever needed.

Thus the utility would be decentralised around its clients, who would interface electronically, indicating participation, being the ID tag and key issued to the user.

More important would be to develop the Water Commons side of the system, thus a collective pool created out of any surplus generated by users.

I have a spreadsheet with some numbers, and if there is anyone out there able to help out with taking this a bit further please feel free to assist.

David Robert Lewis