Throughout Africa, many hand water pumps malfunction and remain inoperable for long periods of time. Previous studies from a number of sub-Saharan countries have indicated that in some regions up to 65% of hand pumps may be broken. It is reported that robust monitoring of remote water pumps can help address some of these problems. However, traditional project monitoring strategies generally rely on physical site visits to remote locations. These visits can be time consuming and resource intensive, which in turn may delay the implementation of pump repairs. In contrast, recent years have seen the emergence of a range of new monitoring technologies that use mobile phone networks to rapidly report the operational status of water projects from remote sites. The authors describe the development of a new monitoring system, called MANTIS, which is intended for hand pumps in developing regions. The paper presents data from early field trials of MANTIS in Sierra Leone and The Gambia. The unit relays ‘near real time’ operational data from the water pump to an accessible online platform.

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