ICT and water governance

Residents in Kibera can access information on water from vendors (location, price, quality) via USSD

Residents in Kibera can access information on water from vendors (location, price, quality) via USSD. Photo credit: Maria Jacobson

The 2013 World Water Week report is out – Cooperation for a Water Wise World – Partnerships for Sustainable Development. It “provides input into the discussions at the 2013 World Water Week in Stockholm” and “explore emerging issues such as the role of information and communications technology in advancing water cooperation, the importance of climate mitigation and adaptation coherence and the interplay between actors in the water, food and energy nexus”. I have written the chapter on ICT together with Maria Jacobson from SIWI. Through an assessment of current ICT-enabled water supply projects in East Africa, the general conclusion is that access to information and increased transparency will only lead to actual results on the ground if there are mechanisms in place to ensure that someone will be held responsible to act upon it. Users must see a direct benefit from spending their time and resources to interact and not just be a feeder or a passive receiver of data. An extended article on the topic will follow.

At World Water Week in Stockholm on On 4th of Sept 2013, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre together with Akvo Foundation; Rural Water Supply Network; UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI; Water and Sanitation for Africa; Water and Sanitation Program; Water For People; Water Integrity Network and WaterAid, will convene a seminar on “Changing Relationships: ICT to Improve Water Governance“. I’ll deliver a keynote on Mobile Participation where I’ll try to explain (in 10 minutes!) the hype of and hope in new technologies for governance.

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