April 22, 2013

Field Insight Series: Increasing Safe Water Usage with Remote Kiosks

Safe Water Network released its first Field Insight, a series of reports that will provide a focused analysis to the challenges of local sustainability. Each Field Insight draws upon our initiatives in Ghana and India, where combined we are providing over a quarter of a million people safe, affordable water. The Field Insight series provides in-depth analysis into specific aspects of these operations. 

Remote Kiosks: Quantifying the Value of Convenience in Safe Water Consumption 

When a single 20-liter jerrycan of water weighs nearly 45 lbs., it is not surprising that consumers value convenience. Safe Water Network set out to quantify the value of such convenience by strategically placing remote kiosks in Dzemeni and Pokuase, two existing community run Safe Water Network sites in Ghana. 

Remote Kiosks are distribution points that are connected by underground pipe to the central water station. We evaluated the costs of each kiosk by projecting the amount of additional revenue it could generate to determine the return on investment. 

It should be noted that Safe Water Network field initiatives are community owned and managed stations. Other factors, including additional household adoption rates, are factored into this investment analysis because ensuring that families throughout the village have affordable access is important. 

The Field Insight report details the conditions prior to Safe Water Network's 2009 entry into both villages, as well as the impact of a single point of distribution in each community. It also includes a review of the household mapping analysis and consumer research that led to the decision to install remote kiosks. 

Because Safe Water Network water stations capture sales data daily, we were able to gauge the immediate impact of the remote kiosks. Sales volumes doubled in both villages and these results indicate that strategically placed kiosks can be effective ways of increasing safe water usage. Such volume increases make a vast improvement to the water system's ability to generate sufficient revenue to cover operating costs, an important aspect to a community's ability to sustain the station long-term. 

Other factors do influence usage behavior, and in subsequent Field Insights, Safe Water Network will examine those variables in greater detail. The next two Field Insights, due out this month will address Microfinance for Rainwater Harvesting and Distribution Economics. 


Safe Water Network's Field Insight series
  • Each of our field projects is continuously monitored and evaluated in order to refine and standardize the approach for a broad and rapid roll-out with our public and private sector partners. The Field Insight series is one of a number of dissemination activities we utilize to share our findings and foster best practice.
  • Each Field Insight is a 4-page document describing a specific operating, consumer or environmental challenge and the approach taken to address that challenge, as well as the observed results.