Incentivizing clean water collection during rainfall to reduce disease in rural sub-Saharan Africa with weather dependent pricing
In much of rural sub-Saharan Africa, households tend to shift water collection during rainfall periods away from cleaner groundwater sources, which they often have to pay for, towards free alternative sources. This increases disease risk and decreases sustainability of service provision. New approaches are needed to incentivize households to maintain clean water use and mitigate this environmental health challenge. We propose a pricing mechanism for ‘water ATMs’ – now possible with their pre-payment and remote monitoring capabilities – derived from measured reductions in collection over rainfall periods. Appropriate price elasticity ranges (−0.5 to −1) and relative risk of diarrhoeal disease from this intervention (0.4 to 0.8) determined from the literature are used to estimate the cost per capita and cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted. These are estimated to be between US$5 and 50 per DALY averted in the scenarios studied here, which would compare favourably against other water quality interventions. Cost and value would depend on elasticity of demand and potential health gains across different communities. Considerations for implementation are discussed. The potential for accurate subsidy transfers to service providers is outlined, along with the added resilience to climate change.
Internet of Things innovation in rural water supply in sub-Saharan Africa: a critical assessment of emerging ICT
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are beginning to transform rural water supply in sub-Saharan Africa. Such information and communications technologies (ICTs) can facilitate change away from current unsustainable approaches that fail communities. Fast-moving developments in this area are under-researched, and sustainability of the innovations themselves and their place in the complex operating system require fuller consideration and presentation to the practitioner community. First, rural water supply in sub-Saharan Africa is critically contextualized as a ‘wicked problem’. Second, specific challenges to rural water supply in Tanzania are quantitatively assessed using expert interviews. Analysis of these coupled with academic and practitioner-oriented literature demonstrates the need to move towards a ‘service delivery approach’. Third, existing novel ICT and IoT technologies are categorized and critically evaluated, presenting the landscape of innovation to practitioners within the above context. Current research gaps are outlined. With a focus on research in the context of rapid technological innovation, the paper shows policy makers and practitioners how IoT innovations will support a service delivery approach. Longer-term planning using the enhanced data collection, and more integrated collection-to-use information flows, will advance service delivery further and increase sustainability. Practitioners must contextualize this with an appreciation of the complex operating system.