Boy drinking water

mWater – Using mobile technology to track water quality

Despite achieving the millennium development goal of cutting lack of access to safe drinking water in half by 2015,  approximately 11% or 783 million people still don’t have access to clean water (as of March 2012).  Particularly, there remains large disparities in developing areas such as sub-Saharan Africa  where only 61% of the population had access to water in 2010.

mWater is a non-profit organization based in New York City that have developed a mobile application that tracks water sources and allows users to submit and share results from water tests. The Android app leverages a phone’s camera to automatically process the results from images to detect contamination.

Crowdsourcing water quality is an effective solution and mitigates the reliance on a single body to maintain and distribute information. In an interview with HumanIPO,  founder Anne Feighery talked about the desire to remove paper out of the documentation process and instead rely on the cloud. This appears to be the trend for many new social technologies being introduced in the developing world.

The company recently raised $100,000 from USAID and hopes to continue testing its service in Tanzania and other African countries such as Rwanda in the future. You can visit their website at www.mwater.co for more information about the company and donation options.

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