August 2017

White Paper Available: Harnessing Water Point Data for Improved Water Services

From water points to improving services

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 by 2030 requires accelerating progress and investment dramatically and a shift to providing services instead of infrastructure. National policy targets and the SDGs are not going to be met at the current rate of investment and failure of existing infrastructure due to a lack of service monitoring using water point data. According to Antonio Rodriguez Serrano, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist from The World Bank and Sistema de Información de Agua y Saneamiento Rural (SIASAR) team leader:

We have to keep the current services functional. The most critical question is not how to breach the gap to 100% coverage, it is how to sustain the services. Data we collect should help us to understand the factors that affect the sustainability of water services in rural communities and address the problems communities are having in a certain area. Data that does not trigger action should not be collected.

Evidence on the real state of basic and safely managed services, including the location of water sources and water supply and their other attributes, will be pivotal for accelerating progress and ultimately achieving SDG 6.1. It is crucial for decision-makers to understand this role of water point data.

Actionable guidance

National and local governments, donors, investors, NGOs and implementers each have different roles in ensuring sustainable services. This white paper provides actionable guidance to each on how to use water point data and improve water point monitoring based on existing practices and the experience of the authors working on water point monitoring programs and tools.

For a quick reference, there are complimentary 2-page fact sheets available for different target groups with universal lessons and specific recommendations:

Download the White Paper

The White Paper builds on a) more than 30 cases from government, development partners, and the private sector; b) the experiences of users of the Water Point Data Exchange; c) interviews with leaders in the space of water point monitoring; and d) action research in Uganda, a country leading in the use and publication of water point data. You can access the White Paper “Harnessing Water Point Data to Improve Drinking Water Services” through the following link.

WASHNote and IRC Uganda authored the white paper with the support of the Water and Development Alliance (WADA), The Coca Cola Company, and USAID.

You can also find and download all these products from:

When a thousand ideas collide

This blog post has originally been posted on

Today I am traveling to Denmark to join a group of the most inspiring people around. In Copenhagen, I join a 1000 young people from all over the world to discuss, ideate and design solutions to the most pressing issues we are currently facing. Apart from beautiful memories, ideas, inspiring contacts, new friends and partnerships I hope to bring back home a firm belief in the ability of this generation to secure a healthy and safe environment for our own and future generations. Firstly, by ensuring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are met by 2030.

The ‘Unleash talents’ in Denmark are centered around seven themes: sustainable production & consumption, health, food, energy, education, urban sustainability, and water. In the next 9 days, we map the problem areas, ideate solutions, exchange ideas, develop prototypes, form partnerships, and learn a lot together. This first innovation lab is the start of a global community that works on accelerating progress towards the SDGs.

My main focus during Unleash is on SDG 6.1; achieving sustainable and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. Globally, there are over 650 million people without access to safely managed drinking water services. Many national governments, local and international stakeholders are monitoring the state of water infrastructure to target resources and investments efficiently. Collecting data on the state of water infrastructure is good practice and it will help us to reach universal access, however, we often see that the collection efforts are one-off or the data remain within a single organization, limiting the potential the data provide. I focus on how different audiences can best use the data to improve services. This includes advice on national monitoring systems, technical details on sharing water point data and bringing together stakeholders to discuss progress. This is the angle on the water theme I’m taking with me to Denmark and I am interested in developing ideas along the advocacy of using water point data, products and (automating) services that set up solid systems that help stakeholders to engage with water point data.

Proportion of population using at least basic water services in 2015 (retrieved from JMP 2017 – Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene)


This week provides the entrepreneurs, academics, engineers and other experts at UNLEASH to exchange ideas on all the different themes. Together with a colleague student at university I once developed an Agent-Based Model that we used to explore how the probability of ideas colliding within a population spurs specialization and innovation. We explored how the collective skill level of communities that were suddenly isolated deteriorated as the number of exchanges with other people and other ideas went down. In contrast, we also saw a rise in specialization and skills among communities that have an increasing amount of exchanges.

“By exchanging, human beings discovered ‘the division of labour’, the specialisation of efforts and talents for mutual gain.” — Matt Ridley

Every talent at Unleash brings own ideas, beliefs, and perspectives, from own cultures and backgrounds. It is mighty interesting to see the ideas and perspectives of a 1000 bright, motivated and/or concerned people colliding and I’m both grateful and proud to be among them in Denmark.