Water Point Data

Interview Tim Foster from the Insitute for Sustainable Futures

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.”



DiMES water services monitoring framework

The SMARTerWASH project was a project performed in Ghana by IRC, CWSA, Akvo and SkyFox Limited. The project built on DiMES and the national monitoring framework for Ghana published by CWSA. The project strengthened the national ICT infrastructure by linking different ICT systems for monitoring (CWSA’s DiMES, Akvo’s FLOW and SkyFox’ SMS-based system for tracking functionality and ordering spare parts) and by ensuring interoperability of the systems. The project tested data collection at scale: data for 131 districts (out of 216) were gathered collecting data from 23.000 handpumps and nearly a thousand piped schemes. The data are available through fact sheets and an atlas that is accessible online. There is, mostly anecdotal, evidence that baseline data have been used to inform planning and corrective actions in several districts (see the SMARTerWASH stories). The data have for example been used in 11 districts in the Upper West, Upper East, Western, Brong-Ahafo and Northern Regions to inform District Water and Sanitation Plans (DWSP). The data have also informed repairs and rehabilitation of over 600 boreholes with hand pumps restoring water services to an estimated 180,000 people and have stimulated several District Assemblies to form or reconstitute WSMTs (e.g. reconstitution of 203 WSMTs in Hilton districts and 24 in UNICEF districts).