February 4, 2016

Safe Water Network Releases 2 Digital Tools for Small Water Enterprises

At a Stakeholder Consultation Workshop on February 4, 2016 in Delhi, Safe Water Network showcased two digital tools that we have developed in partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) India. The Water Quality and Technology Selection Tool and Plant Assessment Tool aim to recommend effective and efficient technology for water purification based on raw water quality, improve management, productivity and governance of water kiosks. The workshop was organized as part of a consultation process to seek inputs on these decision support tools to upgrade from the current beta version.

Poonam Sewak, Safe Water Network, welcomes participants to the workshop on digital tools.

Digital tools generate a real-time ability to optimize record keeping, accounting, and operations while reducing costs without compromising quality of data or service. They are intended to bring online digitized information in support of e-Governance. Intended users span government and policy makers, water sector technicians and engineers, entrepreneurs and NGOs that establish and operate SWEs.

The tools - online, android-based app available on the Google Play Store- are designed to maintain data integrity, minimize data transcription errors, provide common database for analytics, improve reliability of operations, support sustainability and enable hierarchical visibility. They have the ability to buffer data in instances of poor or no connectivity, and sync with the web server as and when feasible. Designed to work across geographies, the tools are highly scalable. Updates on tool version shall be available on relevant stores on a regular basis.

Following the workshop, Safe Water Network is in the process of compiling inputs from sector players, government officials and advisors to inform the beta version of these tools to ultimately release freely downloadable versions of these apps on the Android and Apple Play stores.

In the interim, we are working towards the development of the third digital tool under the USAID WASH Alliance project, the Financial Viability Tool, which is intended to help the sector understand the breakeven economics of urban small water enterprises (USWEs) and the constraining need to balance between affordability and viable pricing. This will help investors and operators develop operations, distribution, and management strategies, and will provide more clarity on financial sustainability of urban small water enterprises. The Tool will enable to model scenarios for financial viability of a potential RO-based treatment facility.

The tools were developed under the Urban Small Water Enterprises project, funded by USAID and supported by the PepsiCo Foundation, Cisco, Newman’s Own Foundation, Pentair Foundation and Underwriters Laboratories. 

About the Tools

Digital tools generate a real-time ability to optimize record keeping, accounting, and operations while reducing costs without compromising quality of data or service.

Tool 1: Water Quality and Technology Selection Tool

The Water Quality and Technology Selection tool is an online, android-based app designed for decision making on the relevant and cost effective technology based on raw water quality. It has the ability to buffer data in instances of poor or no connectivity, with the ability to sync with the web server as and when feasible. Designed to work across geographies, it is highly scalable. Updates on tools version shall be available on relevant stores on a sustained basis.

The tool is a decision support system designed to maintain data integrity, minimize data transcription errors, provide a common database for analytics, improve reliability of operations, support sustainability and enable hierarchical visibility. The tool has the ability to compare the water quality data against WHO guidelines and six other world standards namely, USEPA, EU, India, Ghana, Australia and China. The user is guided to choose a relevant technology and compare it with other technology solutions with respect to cost effectiveness and efficiency of the system. It supports archiving and data access of water quality from same source over a period of time to compare water quality temporally.

Users: Urban Local Bodies - water department; water sector professionals (technicians / engineers), community safe water solutions implementers & operators; WASH entrepreneurs; NGOs in the water space; and academic institutions and policy makers for making technology recommendations based on water quality.

Tool 2: Plant Assessment Tool

The Plant Assessment Tool is an online, android-based app designed for undertaking assessment of water treatment plants. It has the ability to buffer data in instances of poor or no connectivity, with the ability to sync with the web server as and when feasible. Designed to work across geographies, it is highly scalable. Updates on tools version shall be available on relevant stores on a sustained basis.

The tool will be used for assessing the performance of Small Water Enterprises (SWEs) on the basis of standard service level benchmarks. The benchmarking has the following sustainability components: Social, Operational, Financial, Institutional and Environmental (SOFIE).The app is intuitive and user friendly and shall generate a score on performance of the water treatment plant. The score will enable the investor, implementer or entrepreneur to measure performance and address gaps. The tool enables tracking SWE performance over a period of time. It has online functionality where aggregated data can be accessed and analysed to inform business decisions.

Users: Urban Local Bodies that invest in public-private partnership drinking water projects; Ministry of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation; water sector professionals (technicians / engineers); community safe water solutions implementers & operators; WASH entrepreneurs; and NGOs involved in decentralized drinking water provision to communities.