Characterising intermittent water systems in data-scarce settings using a citizen science approach

Started: October 2014

Supervisors: Dr Michael Templeton; Dr Christian Onof

Industry Partner: Climate-KIC UK

Description of Research

Intermittent Water Systems (IWS) provide water discontinuously in time and space – the provision of water is therefore unreliable and unsafe for direct consumption. Moreover, the insecurity of an untimely and insufficient water supply causes consumers to collect more water than they would use with a continuously available supply - a just-in-case versus just-on-time approach to consumption which exacerbates the problem of water scarcity in the network. These types of coping costs borne by the consumer to overcome the reliability and safety concerns caused by the water intermittency reveal a profound personal concern for safe and reliable drinking water. Information available on intermittent water supplies shows that it is present all over the world in varying degrees of severity. However, the lack of relevant data on the failures of water infrastructure inhibits research and progress in the direction of remediating intermittent water supplies. This research therefore implements a citizen-science approach to collect data on the perceived quality and quantity of water in intermittent systems in developing countries, filling a knowledge gap. At its optimal, it could be used to incite water officials to attribute more resources to studying the problem of water intermittency.