WASHMobile is designed to monitor water infrastructure to enable identification and repair of failing water points to reduce water-borne illness rates in developing urban areas.  Through these activities, we ensure safe water for thousands of individuals and that developmental aid and public funding are maximally effective.  To do this, the system:



Trained individuals regularly measure five indicators for each water point according to Standard Methods [3].  These tests measure:

  • turbidity: a metric to gauge the presence of physical matter
  • E. coli and total coliforms: indicators of contamination with fecal matter 
  • nitrates: to assess nitrogen contaminants resulting from agricultural activities and poor sanitation infrastructure
  • residual chlorine: a metric to gauge protective disinfectant levels

Each test can be completed off-grid, meaning each can be conducted in resource-poor and emergency settings.  Sampling is conducted in technical replicates and with proper controls for data certainty.



Test results are submitted via browser-based KoBo Toolbox survey, which enables both online and offline submission via smartphone, tablet, or computer.  Following submission, data are processed differentially for two purposes:

  • Water point comparison - data for each water point are weighted and combined to yield a single quality grade indicative of overall risk allowing for easy comparison between water points [4].

  • Trend analysis - data is analyzed for trends between type of water point, water quality, seasonality, and geographic location, among others, using well-established statistical methods to test for correlation.

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Data is leveraged through two key stakeholder groups: a) water consumers, and b) high-level organizations like governmental agencies, public utilities, and NGOs engaged in infrastructure and urban development, and WASH programming.

  • For water consumers, data are made available via online map interface, and SMS “push” and “pull” services. Use of SMS allows us to provide this information to all mobile phones, not just smartphones.  With this information, individuals can make educated water decisions and can choose to source their water from safe water points. As well, with access to this information, individuals can increase their civic engagement, using this data to advocate for fair and reliable water service.

  • For high-level organizations, data are made available via periodic, customized reports. Armed with these data, these bodies are able to identify the geographic areas where and the specific seasonal times when water quality is poorest. This allows these areas to be appropriately serviced though targeted infrastructure expansion and repair, and intelligent public health programming like hand washing and water treatment campaigns.