Citizen science for assessing the causes, characteristics and costs of water supply intermittency in developing countries

Started: October 2014

Supervisors: Dr Michael Templeton; Dr Christian Onof

Industry Partner: Climate-KIC UK

Description of Research

Water intermittency is a widespread affliction in many low-income countries, where having piped water supply to the home is not synonymous to having access to continuous, reliable or safe water. The Ph.D. will address two fundamental technical causes of water intermittency, lack of electricity - needed for the operation of the pumps in the water distribution network - and water scarcity. The research will use citizen science data to assess the causes, characteristics and costs of water supply intermittency in developing countries. Initially, the dynamics of the intermittent water systems will be visualized using a modelling tool, and a statistical trend analysis will evaluate the extent of the intermittency under electricity and water scarcity. This will be followed by an evaluation of the economic impacts that intermittent water supplies have on household costs. Different strategies using renewable energies will be proposed to address the intermittency by providing more electricity for the operation of the water system, and / or supplementary water resources. Thanks to this groundwork, the research will then be able to explore potential policy interventions to manage the water supply, alleviate the impacts on households and facilitate the use of renewable energies to intervene in the system.