Welcome to

This site is still under development, due to growing interest in both the site and methodology we've decided to make it public now. Please forgive any errors or omissions, much of the text and content will be revised and if you have comments, questions, suggestions or material to add they will all be gratefully received at 

More sections will follow soon including sections on data collection using mobile phones and data storage and management options. At some point there will also be a mailing list and newsletter. 

We'd like to make this site interactive and gather around it a community of people who use the methodology, are interested in using the methodology or in addressing the numerous challenges still to be faced in providing a practical, sustainable, user friendly solution to the challenges of monitoring rural water supply. 

The site should be updated regularly so please check back and don't be afraid to get involved! 

The Challenge

A lack of quality, timely information on rural supply is one of the biggest challenges facing the sector today, put simply how can you do something about a problem when you don't know what or where it is? How do you plan new investment, decide where to rehabilitate old schemes, assess the sustainability of technologies and management styles, argue against political pressure to invest in areas with well above average coverage without any information? This is the challenge that many countries are facing today. 

What is Water Point Mapping? 

Water point mapping is a tool for collecting data about the functionality and status of improved rural water sources. It has been used in a number of countries across Africa and Asia and variations of the tool are now being promoted by a growing number of organisations. It was first used in 2002 in Malawi by WaterAid and is now being used in, amongst others, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Over the years it has evolved to cater to the needs of new environmental and political situations and reflect differences in complex and changing national water sectors. 

At it's heart Water Point Mapping is about finding out where water points are and if they're working!

How's it done? 

The beauty of Water Point Mapping is it's simplicity.

You visit a rural water point, you fill in a 1 page questionnaire, take a GPS reading and a photo then you go and visit the next one. 

That's it, it really is that simple. 

Who can do it?

If you have Landcruisers and fancy PDAs with built in GPS and camera that's great. If you have a bicycle, a $100 GPS and a pencil and paper then it will take you a little longer but you can still map all of the water points in your area. 

Water point mapping has been conducted by many types of organisations:

  • Private companies, such as Geodata in Tanzania have been used to collect baseline data
  • Local Government Authorities conducted the surveys in Malawi

What's it for?

There are a number of uses for Water Point Mapping and we're always exploring new ways for people to access and use the data. Here are some examples of uses the data has been put to in countries which have already started using WPM. 

  • Monitoring sustainability of different technologies
  • Planning of new investments and rehabilitation at local government level
  • Monitoring equity of investment in the rural water sector at national level
  • Monitoring coverage of improved water sources at the national level

Keeping the data updated?

So when you have your baseline data how do you keep it updated? This is by far the biggest challenge facing any ongoing monitoring tool and unfortunately there is no simple answer. Every country's water sector is different and each presents its own challenges. 

There are however a number of possible solutions to this problem and new technology which can make data collection and management more user friendly, more scalable and more sustainable. Details of these will be added to this site soon.