Abstract

In the arsenic-contaminated Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta in India and Bangladesh, small-scale piped water supply seems a promising way to provide safe drinking water to households in the region. The use of smartphone applications can support monitoring of the system and enhance local engagement and empowerment. In this paper the scope for mobile crowd participation as a research and monitoring tool for piped water supply systems in Bihar, India and in Khulna and Chittagong, Bangladesh is investigated. In these areas, the use of smartphones and internet access are growing rapidly and smartphone applications would enable real-time water quality monitoring, payment of water bills, awareness creation, and a dialogue between the end-user and the water supplier. To identify the relevance and acceptability of piped water supply and smartphone monitoring, four surveys with potential end-users were conducted. Based on these surveys we conclude that in the investigated areas there is a desire for piped water systems, that households already own smartphones with internet access, and that there is an interest in smartphone monitoring. The enabling environment to deploy mobile crowd participation for piped water system monitoring stimulates further research towards an investigation of potential functionalities and the actual development of such an application.

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