Water Point Mapping is an increasingly important tool in gathering evidence of where water services are and what state they are in.  A common figure that is often quoted in publications and presentations is that around 30% of handpumps in Sub-Saharan Africa are not working at any one time:

This was based on estimates from country household surveys and expert estimates from experienced practitioners in each country.

Since then, water point mapping has taken off, thanks to mobile phone apps, such as FLOW and mWater.  We have been asked to update the 2009 functionality statistics, however the availability of more data has thrown up many questions, which are being looked a various organisations and researchers. Improve International have compiled many reports of failures in an effort to advocate to better quality implementation.

RWSN is collaborating with Global Water Challenge and partners in collating water point datasets and developing an open Water Point Data Exchange (WPDx) standard.

Collecting water point data is one thing, using it is another. The Hidden Crisis, one of the studies in the Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor programme is looking at handpump and borehole failure in detail in Uganda, Malawi and Ethiopia and draws on some the evidence emerging from water point data.

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