RWSN Discusses Water Point Mapping

RWSN is hosting two lively discussions about water point mapping (wpm), one on the RWSN LinkedIn group, and the other at the RWSN Dgroups space.   This blog provides a summary of the LinkedIn discussion.

For those of you who are completely new to water point mapping, the next section gives a basic introduction  (adapted from Mobile Phones and WPM).

Introduction to Water Point Mapping

Chadian women revert to drawing water manually, after pulley system fails. (c) Jean Claude Balcet

•     Water point mapping is essentially about creating databases, or inventories, of individual water points (standposts, handpumps, etc.)  The information can then be used for a variety of purposes: investment planning, advocacy, analysis of various sorts (e.g., most common reasons for non-functioning water points), and so forth.  The data on physical locations can be used to create maps of water points, but all kinds of additional visualization and analysis (tables, charts, statistics, etc.) are possible .

•     Technology has revolutionized water point mapping, and field surveys generally.  Gone are the days of paper questionnaires, manual data entry, and monopoly control over how and when the data are analyzed.  Instead, the data collector enters the information on a mobile phone, from which it can be uploaded into a database on the Internet, and analyzed by users located anywhere with Internet access, using software that makes it easy to analyze and present the data in a variety of ways.

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Boreholes and trees – why drilling supervision matters

by Professor Richard Carter, Chair of RWSN [1]

About 1 billion people in rural areas rely on boreholes (mostly fitted with handpumps) for their water supply. Another 300 million in small towns and cities get their domestic water from boreholes.[2]

(c) RWSN/Skat

What is a borehole?

Someone [3] once defined a tree as “a big plant with a stick up the middle”. Using this analogy, a borehole is “a long thin hole in the ground which produces water”. But of course just as trees are a bit more complicated than the definition would suggest, and just as trees come in all shapes and sizes, so too boreholes are more than ‘long thin holes …’. No two boreholes are quite the same.

If I wish to plant a tree and get fruit or timber from it sometime in the future, then I need to choose the right species, plant it in the right place, and nurture it until it becomes established. So too if I want to construct a borehole which will deliver clean water over both the short-term and the long-term, I need to choose its location with care, design it properly and ensure that it is drilled and finished straight and true.

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