MIDS Capstone Project Spring 2018

Improving Access to Water in Developing Nations

Nearly 1 billion people rely on communal water points on a daily basis. Rural communities are getting their water from shared infrastructure, such as hand pumps or small piped networks, often managed by a community water committee. This safe, accessible water is a lifeline for staying healthy, providing dignity, supporting a growing economy, and even promoting gender equity. However, these water points fail at an alarming rate. Today, more than 1 out of every 5 rural water points is broken, wasting billions of dollars and forcing communities to revert to distant or dirty water sources.

Governments and NGOs do their best to keep water points running, but they are fighting an uphill battle. Both governments and NGOs work in very resource scarce environments, and they can’t fix all of the broken systems. The best hope is to reach as many people as possible with every repair, and make sure that every dollar has the greatest impact possible. Previously, this wasn’t possible. Governments had no way to know which water point could reach the most people, or which ones could be prioritized for cost-saving preventative maintenance.  Our project is actively helping countries answer these questions for the first time in history. 

Working with the guidance of government leaders in Africa and the Global Environmental Technology Fund, one of the largest non-profits focused on improving accesss to clean water, we have created a web-based tool that enables governments and aid organizations to make evidence-based decisions to address water access in developing nations. These tools give users the ability to identify priority water points for repair, understand the impacted population within 1km of a waterpoint, determine the availability of water point access by region, and predict which water points will fail in the near future.


Last updated:

April 25, 2018