The continued expansion of mobile network coverage in rural Africa provides an opportunity for simple and low-cost hydroinformatic innovations to measure and transmit data on handpump use for policy and management improvements. We design, build and test a Waterpoint Data Transmitter to determine its robustness, functionality and scalability. Results demonstrate that this novel application using simple micro-processor, accelerometer and GSM components has significant potential in recording graduated time-step information flows of lever pumps which can be modelled into a reasonable water volume use approximation. Given the systemic informational deficit for rural waterpoints in Africa, where one in three handpumps is likely to be non-functioning, this innovation has the potential to provide universal, low-cost and immediate data to guide timely maintenance responses and planning decisions, as well as drive greater accountability and transparency in donor and government behaviour.
Thomson, P.; Hope, R.; Foster, T. GSM-enabled remote monitoring of rural handpumps: a proof-of-concept study. Journal of Hydroinformatics (2012) : [DOI: 10.2166/hydro.2012.183; published online first]