RWSN cross-cutting topic

Mapping & Monitoring

Monitoring activities underpin the success of rural water supply services. Information resulting from mapping and monitoring practices provides the evidence for management decisions, such as planning the rehabilitation and equitable extension of services together with post-construction support.

Water point mapping initiatives, led by NGOs and governments, have developed and evolved substantially over the last few years. Much attention has been given to the tools for collecting and analysing information on the distribution and status of water points. Less attention has been given to embedding the processes required to sustain the monitoring systems.

Actual mapping efforts (and inventories) have focused on improved community sources, with practically no emphasis on traditional sources, or those that lack services. Once inventories or maps have been prepared, there is relatively little evidence of how this information is used, such as for planning and allocation of resources. Further, the data is often not updated or used as a basis for systematic monitoring water supply services.

The online community enables members to discuss technical, policy and management issues around water point mapping, monitoring and reporting. Members share data, analysis, insight and knowledge from mapping activities including the indicators, approaches, methodologies, technologies, and mechanisms for sustaining inventories. The group works towards making data available and accessible to all stakeholders, developing the environment where data can be used to inform resource allocation and planning decisions, and monitoring the improvements in equitable and sustained access to rural water supply.

This community has enabled exchange regarding:

  • Information & communication technologies for mapping and monitoring
  • Indicators for water point mapping as well as monitoring
  • Availability & accessibility of reliable data

Within the community, the discussion is dominated by the NGOs who are developing and using various water point mapping and monitoring techniques. Voices from government, both local and national are relatively few and far between.

The questions that RWSN takes forward into this strategy are:

  1. How is water point mapping data being used at local and national levels?
  2. How does the information from water point mapping efforts lead more sustainable and equitable water supply services?
  3. Should national inventories and databases be updated, and if so, how?


To find out more and to get involved join the Mapping and Monitoring Community on dgroups.

Related Resources

Revues Sectorielles Conjointes sur l'eau, l'assainissement et l'hygiène (WASH)


L'amélioration de l'eau, l'assainissement et l'hygiène (WASH) dans les États à revenu faible ou intermédiaire, plus particulièrement les États fragiles, ou ceux qui souffrent de crises prolongées, est grand défi.
Au cours de la dernière décennie,les revues sectorielles conjointes (JSR) ont émergé comme un moyen de coordination des parties prenantes,d'apprentissage commun,de collecte de données, de prise de décision et de construction de consensus, de partenariats et de mandats d'action. Les JSR offrent une opportunité de renforcement de la gouvernance et d'augmentation d'impact.
Dans les pays où plusieurs bailleurs de fonds financent la WASH et ne fournissent pas un appui budgétaire général, les JSR sont l'un des rares mécanismes pouvant susciter la responsabilité mutuelle au niveau des pays | more information »

Effective Joint Sector Reviews for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

A Study and Guidance - 2016

This is the first consolidated and referenced multicountry study of Water or Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Joint Sector Reviews (JSRs). The study report and associated Learning Note and Poster provide an understanding of JSR processes and practical guidance on how to introduce and improve them. The study sets out a methodology in the form of visual checklists to reflect and take stock of WASH JSR processes. This could also form the foundation for subsequent cross-country comparisons of the JSR process.

The publications provide an analysis of JSRs as well as practical guidance on how to introduce and effectively manage them. The initial focus of the work was on JSRs in fragile states. However, the contested definitions of a fragile state, arbitrary thresholds as well as the realization that there are common issues with respect to JSRs in nonfragile countries led to a widening of the scope of countries studied. Notably, all countries included are considerably donor dependant for WASH. The study considered 25 countries, and found that between 2001 and 2015, WASH JSRs had taken place in 19 of them.

Note that these documents are review copies. | more information »

National Monitoring

Water Point Mapping and Monitoring Series

This third webinar in the series explores the latest state-of-play in national level monitoring of rural water supply, which presentations also of country-led monitoring systems. In these systems, information is collected, analysed and used to inform decentralized resource allocation. Case studies of national monitoring models were reviewed to understand the approaches used in embedding the systems and processes required for maintaining accurate and timely rural water supply information. These case studies also demonstrate the impact monitoring has had on extending equitable and sustainable service delivery and provide key learning points. | more information »

District Monitoring

Water Point Mapping and Monitoring Series

This second webinar visited case studies of district monitoring experiences in Ethiopia, Bolivia and Ghana to review the methods, costs, challenges and lessons to be learned from each experience. | more information »

Failure and the Future

Water Point Mapping and Monitoring Series

The fourth and final webinar in the RWSN Water Point Mapping series provided a candid account of the challenges with WPM that have led to failed objectives. There are, however, valuable lessons to be learned from those failures, and the experiences have provided useful models and contributed to improved knowledge and data banks. The webinar also discussed the future of WPM, including new models and initiatives to maximize the benefit of data monitoring and improve information accessibility and transparency. | more information »

A Decade of WPM

RWSN: Mapping and Monitoring

The first webinar reviewed the development of WPM over the past decade, focusing on Malawi, the first country in which the practice was introduced. The key presenters provided dual perspectives of NGO and government actors, which demonstrated the varied methodologies for reporting water supply data, the extent to which data monitoring has impacted decision making and its role in extending equitable and sustainable service delivery. Presentations and discussion assessed the practice, policy, tools and technologies of monitoring and WPM, following its evolution and bringing to question whether WPM is currently a practical and sustainable solution given the reality of resources and government capacities. | more information »