Global engineering and design consultancy, Arup, and leading UK water charity, FRANK Water, launch the WASH Connect mobile app and WASH Basins Toolkit – to help water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) professionals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government agencies facilitate safe sustainable and equitable water and sanitation services.
The toolkit and app use digital tools such as the KoBo Toolbox and India Space Programme technology to help develop accurate assessments of the water situation on the ground and follow a structured six-stage water security process.
The WASH Connect app and toolkit are just part of the outcomes of a three-year partnership during which FRANK Water and Arup have joined forces with Samerth Charitable Trust and the People’s Science Institute (two of FRANK’s India-based partners) to find answers to India’s water crisis. India has the highest population of any country in the world without access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. According to Water Aid and the World Health Organisation (WHO), 163 million people still lack access to safe water and millions still defecate in the open.
Over the last three years, the project has worked with more than 40 vulnerable communities in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, empowering them to develop their own answers to securing safe, clean drinking water and sanitation by mapping water resources, sharing data and facilitating groundwater recharge. Project partners adopted a multi-level approach, working with individual communities and local government agencies to empower them to jointly control and manage water resources.
Image: FRANK Water
FRANK Water India Programme Manager, Jon Shepherd said: “Unequal allocation of water is one of the world’s most urgent problems and the outbreak of Covid-19 has only served to further highlight the need for equitable, sustainable safe water. The WASH Connect app aims to directly help communities to understand and manage their water better, ensuring they have access to resilient water resources for generations to come.”
Arup Project Lead, Vera Ngosi said: “Technology plays a fundamental role in the way we access and learn new information. The methodology we have developed in the toolkit and app aligns with global best practice in water management and integrates with the latest developments in information technology and open source satellite data whilst keeping the tasks and actions achievable and repeatable at a community and NGO level. This app will help other NGOs and local governments apply the principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM) to their own programmes across India and other parts of the world where water is in short supply. It has the potential to change attitudes towards water resource management across India and beyond.”
The WASH Connect app and toolkit have been developed against the national and international context including river basin and aquifer pressures, as well as climate change, to align with the principles of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.5 - Water Resources Management.
To download the app and toolkit, visit www.frankwater.com/wash-basins.