Detailed Water Data Recording on Google Maps

Expanding to Nyamaharaga

So we just finished our baseline survey of Nyamaharaga, one of the new areas that Nuru is expanding to. Want to know where Nyamaharaga is? Well feast your eyes on this Google Map. The locations with numbers (ie 391) are places where people are currently getting there water (“Nymaharaga Pr” is a primary school in the area, and “Chief Marwa” is the location’s chief’s compound).

Sometimes this may be a protected springbox, other times it’s literally a muddy hole that’s filled with trash, feces, and insects. One of the more contaminated locations is 394, which you can see is right next to a road (switch to satellite view on the map if you don’t see a road).

This road basically washes all sorts of trash and feces straight into what used to be a springbox (it’s currently broken and people fetch water from a stagnant pond next to it). I can still remember the smell at this location, as I watched insects flit around on the water surface. Of course, since animals could freely drink here as well, flies were buzzing around the fresh cow patties next to the water source. I couldn’t imagine having to drink the water as well. However, we’ve already finished our training sessions here in Nyamaharaga and villagers are learning to boil their water or treat it with WaterGuard (a chlorine solution).

Although it’s presented through Google maps on this blog, we’re using Google Earth in order to display all the different data that we collect at the water points. For example, using this website, Earth Point, we can convert the interview data from our Google forms into a map which plots out the locations with the greatest number of users, reported sicknesses, or even if the people there are boiling their water or not. Of course, gathering this information is only half the story. Once we have located the water sources and tested them for fecal contamination (394 seems like a no-brainer), we will present our findings to the community in order to hear their feedback and construct a solution together with them.

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