This paper reports the findings of three water point mapping (WPM) studies carried out in three rural districts of Tanzania covering 3,363 water points. The methodology was designed to estimate the influence that consideration of the quality of the water supplied and the year-round functionality of each water point would have on each district's coverage figures. To this end, the study included measurements of basic quality parameters (692 analyses) and characterisation of the year-round continuity of service, in addition to the data collected in standard WPM campaigns. Both the quality and year-round continuity results were analysed in a disaggregated form by water point technology. The results show that 22% of the improved water points analysed had more than 10 CFU (colony-forming units)/100 ml of water and 19% were seasonal. Moreover, water service coverage in the districts studied fell 40% on average when quality and year-round continuity were considered. There is a strong need to include these basic factors in the minimum standards to be delivered and monitored in rural areas. Simple and efficient methodologies for including quality and year-round continuity measurements in the information routines, such as the one presented here, are a necessary step to this end.

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