MWANZA, Tanzania – Over half a million people in Rock City, Mwanza are expected to see improved water supply in the near future. A project sponsored by USAID) and implemented by Mwanza Urban Water and Seweage Authority will map water sources and record test results using mobile phones. The project will work closely with local stakeholders in Mwanza to improve local capacity to monitor water quality and map water sources and also establish a demand for water quality information.
Rock City, Mwanza is Tanzania’s second largest city and faces challenges in meeting the demand for water due to a rapid increase in population growth and urbanization. Many residents in urban areas still rely on traditional water sources, and public awareness on the benefits of clean water is lacking.
“In 2012, mWater and UN HABITAT collaborated with MWAUWASA and Mwanza City Council to conduct a study to demonstrate the scientific validity of low cost tests of the mWater applications for mobile smartphones, which maps out water sources and records their water test results,” said a representative from mWater. mWater is an organization based in the United States that is dedicated to improving access to safe water using low-cost mobile phone technology. The organization is currently investigating the task of installing a permanent water monitoring system with existing funds and workforce capacity.
The project put in place under the Development Innovation Ventures Programme works to identify innovative approaches to water development. If all goes well, the project will spread knowledge and lessons to the public, which will be used to expand access to low-cost tools for water quality mapping and monitoring to other regions of the world. To attract participants, free smartphones, airtime and an initial supply of test kits will be provided by mWater free of charge.
Ultimately the project is expected to develop the capabilities to respond to issues over water quality and other related health issues, and improve communication between public health officials and Ward Officers in managing vital resources.
– Ali Warlich
Sources: All Africa, mWater