Please tell us how water point data has been used in this very brief survey:

Overcoming water point amnesia

Where and how people access water and the location of the water sources, for example, a borehole or well, is useful information for those interested in ensuring safe water services for everyone. Naturally, local communities do know the location of these water points as well as the people who maintained them. However, until recently, the installers, district governments, donors, and NGOs typically lost track of the water points and would have a very limited understanding of the status of specific water services from a water point after the installation. This is a significant barrier to ensuring sustainability of basic water services. A lack of data could be a barrier to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6.

From new technology to national inventories

In the last 15 years, GPS and inexpensive mobile phones have improved access to accurate water point data. Since then, several national water point atlases are publicly available online, for example, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Tanzania. The Water Point Data Exchange website now provides public access to more than 350,000 such data points. But is this information being used? And, if so, is it, in fact, leading to improved rural water services? There is anecdotal evidence that it might be helping. In Ghana, local government identified water points for rehabilitation and communities where the local management team should be retrained. National atlases in countries like Uganda and Burkina Faso have been prepared as part of a national review process. In Burkina Faso, NGOs found each other because they both mapped water points in the same country and were visible on the Water Point Data Exchange. As a result, they joined together on a new project. Most recently, smart pumps have been used to assess groundwater levels and could support groundwater resource management.

Using water point data: a white paper

WASHNote, together with IRC in Uganda, is preparing a white paper on the use of water point data for improving rural water services. While there is a significant amount of documentation on collecting water point data, there is still a need for a review of how this information is being used today to support rural water services and how this might change in the future. How can water point data support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 6? How can water point data be used to build strong leading national policy frameworks, reduce duplication and target interventions, and accelerate overall investment safely managed and basic water services?

Share how you are using water point data

If you have a case to share, please let us know with this link or get in touch:

We are requesting WASH professionals, national governments, local governments and development partners to share examples of how water point data has been used in countries and their vision for the future of water point data. We would like to know the most important ways the use of the data has improved the operation and delivery of rural water services and how it has strengthened the enabling environment at national and local levels as well as what challenges have been faced. The white paper will be shared with all contributors and distributed widely to support others to also take a step to using water point data to improve rural water services.

This work is funded by the Water and Development Alliance (WADA), a global community water partnership between USAID and The Coca-Cola Company and its Foundations.