Date of interview: 2017/06/02
In June 2017, WASHNote spoke to Tim Foster, a researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney. In his profession, Tim uses Water Point Data for evaluation studies, e.g. researching waterpoint sustainability and the Bluepump. In his work as a researcher, Tim learned the value of the quality of data collection.
“The biggest data issue is quality. The use [of water point data] depends on how readily available the data are. The better the data are, at least for researchers, the lower the transaction costs are for us to do research. Currently, you often don’t know what quality control measures have been applied to the collected data.”
In formulating a vision for the future of water service delivery and the use of Water Point Data, Tim emphasized the relation between data that is collected and information the is needed.
“There is a gap in the relation between what data are collected and what information is needed. Collecting data about functionality is an interesting headline, but it does not directly lead to improvements [in service delivery]. The question is what the information gaps are that we do need to fill. We should be more thoughtful on what information we collect. The regularity of data collection is also important. The next level is stringing together time series of data and cross-checking those with service delivery figures and practice, rather than making just one snapshot.”