Project Details


Big data improves access to clean water

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @mWaterCo

Organisations Involved mWater (@mwaterco)
Earth Echo
Millenium Water Alliance
The Water Project
The Water Trust
USAID (@usaid)
WaterAid International
World Bank Innovation Fund

  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Health
  • Data
  • Open Source
  • Social Software

Clean, safe drinking water is scarce. Nearly one billion people around the world do not have access to it, and as of 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognised that water and sanitation is a human right. Yet water availability is as much about the quality as access – it is important to ensure people can drink water that is clean and will not make them sick. 

One of the problems that prevents local governments from providing good access to clean water is lack of data, as well as sharing of that data across different departments. It’s an issue that mWater founder Dr Annie Feighery came across repeatedly while studying for her PhD at Columbia University in New York. 

In 2011, Feighery, together with her husband, established mWater to provide a free, open-access system to monitor water sources, offering a global map, a mobile phone app for recording sources and test results, and inexpensive water-testing kits costing around $5. 

Anyone can use the platform for free, without a relationship to mWater, but large organisations contribute their own software budgets, and investor-level organisations pay for new features, customised implementations, dashboards, training and support. 

This revenue model, says Feighery, enables mWater to remain efficient and “ensures our product is always needed.” To date, over 6,000 users have been accessing mWater in 59 countries, and the organization receives 15,000 surveys each month to add to the database. Over 350,000 public and private sites link to the platform. 

What’s more, mWater makes it simple to move surveys and forms from paper into a digital format, which is easier to share and use. To find out more, visit

Image courtesy of Bread for the World

Last updated: 03rd of August, 2016

Cookies on the Social Tech Guide

Social Tech Guide uses cookies to provide you with an enhanced user experience. To remove this message, please click continue.

Continue Learn more