World Water Day: IBM Launches WaterWatchers Mobile App in South Africa | A Smarter Planet Blog
South Africa suffers from a critical water problem. It’s one of the driest places on earth, with average annual rainfall of just 45.7 cm, half the global number. South Africa ranks 148 out of 180 countries for water availability per capita, according to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2012. At the same time, in South African municipalities, an average of 37% of the water pushed through public water systems is lost via leaks or pilferage.
WaterWatchers takes advantage of the rapid spread of mobile phones in South Africa, where just about every adult now owns a hand set. Using the application, people take photos and answer three simple questions about water problems they observe. Then they SMS the information to a central database. All of the messages are stored and analyzed to help municipal authorities spot problems, dispatch repair crews and set maintenance priorities.