Due to limited resources, drinking water infrastructure in developing cities is often composite in nature, featuring components installed by a range of organizations. As well, it is often in need of significant repair. In Burkina Faso, it is estimated that over 25% of water points are nonfunctional . This demonstrates incomplete infrastructure monitoring, meaning that while some water points are monitored for their water quality, others are not.
Water quality monitoring is a crucial public health monitoring tool. Through it, health officials can determine areas of poor water quality before disease outbreak occurs. Lack of this oversight leads to high rates of water-borne disease. In Burkina Faso, prevalence of these illnesses is as high as 48% in children; that's 1 in 2 .
As well, piped water is unlikely to be extensive in these areas and will often service only those households in city center zones. In regions outside of this network, individuals will commute to sources that are usually within a 5-10 minute walking radius from their home. In many urban areas, the density of these water sources is high enough that individuals can choose from which source they collect their water.
By monitoring each of these sources and by providing this information to high-level organization and to water consumers, we can not only direct and engage in infrastructure repair and investment, but also advise that water be collected from only the cleanest nearby sources.