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eThekwini Municipality - Data Exchange


eTheKwini is the third largest municipality in South Africa. Muncipal staff came to visit the ASU CIC in November 2019 and started discussion about possible collaborations on how to improve the ability to share and use data across governments.  

This led to the data exchange challenge with a specific use case around water data. By exploring how to improve the ability to share and use water data to improve operations and decision making, the Municipality is hoping to learn how it can expand the data exchange to include all public data sets. 

The collaboration led to the development of the SHANA data exchange.  SHANA is short for 
"ukushintshana", which means "exchange" in Zulu - the primary language in eThekwini. 


eThekwini Municipality is a large coastal city with 3.9 million residents in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province that lives with water scarcity, growing populations, aging infrastructure and an increasing service area. All of this puts pressure on water staff at all levels of government to make smarter decisions about water use and investments. Staff in different jurisdictions struggle to collaborate and understand what data is available and the data’s accuracy and timeliness. As a result, staff often duplicate efforts, collecte and store redundant data and come up with different data points and analysis. All of this impacts the Municipality’s ability to operate effectively. 


Government leaders and staff at different levels – ward, municipality, province and national - all wanted an easier way to collaborate on water supply and demand. An increase ability to share data was identified as a large part of the effort. With SHANA, the Municipality envisioned one system where users log into the website or mobile application on a computer, tablet or phone and access data, analytics tools and reporting all through a customizable dashboard. Depending on the staff role and information needed, SHANA can be configured to provide the information and tools needed for specific positions. 

Authorized users are provided access to certain levels of data using an Identity and Access Management process. SHANA shows the complete inventory of data available and allows users to upload new data sets as needed. Users have more confidence in the data integrity because of the built in data standardization tools. The dashboard feature allows users to see up to date information on different analytics impacting water supply and use allowing everyone to work off the same set of information. 

Supporting Artifacts

The Amazon Working Backwards process produces three artifacts - a Press Release, a list of Frequently Asked Questions and a Visual depiction of the user experience. You can find the Data Exchange artifacts here:

Next Steps

The ASU CIC has developed the SHANA data exchange prototype and has delivered it to eThekwini. This project is complete and it is now up to eThekwini to decide what to do with the prototype. 

About the ASU CIC

The ASU Smart Cities Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) is a strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is supported by AWS on ASU’s Innovation campus - SkySong. The mission of the CIC is to drive Innovation Challenges that materially benefit the greater Phoenix metro area and beyond. The CIC will do this by solving pressing community and regional challenges, using shareable and repeatable technology solutions from ideation through prototype, as a service for the greater human good.

The CIC also provides real-world problem-solving experiences to students by immersing them in the application of proven innovation methods in combination with the latest technologies to solve important challenges in the public sector. 

The challenges being addressed cover a wide variety of topics including homelessness, water conservation, vandalism, pedestrian safety, digital service delivery and many others. The CIC leverages the deep subject matter expertise of government, education and non-profit organizations to clearly understand the customers affected by public sector challenges and develops solutions that meet the customer needs.

For more information on the ASU CIC, to read about projects or to submit a challenge, please visit