A new smart phone app called “FLOW” (Field Level Operations Watch) that lets people in developing countries snap photos of broken water pumps, has been developed for the Android phone. (Click on the image to the left to try it out!) Water charities install pumps in these nations in an effort to bring clean water to the developing world. While in most cases all intentions are good, in 30-45 percent of cases, these pumps don’t work.
Sometimes, groups knowingly install broken pumps so they can add one more case to their file of successful, happy stories. Other times, they may work upon installation, but they usually break within a decade, according to Ned Breslin, the CEO of the nonprofit group, Water for People. Breslin recalls the story of a mother who found her son dead after he unknowingly drank contaminated water from a pump that was broken – one of several stories that has motivated him to take a stand to ensure that villages in developing nations are able to care for these water treatment systems long-term.
The Android app does just that. Anyone who comes into contact with a water pump that has a smart phone can take a picture of it, complete questionnaires designed to determine how well it is or is not working, and log GPS coordinates. Anytime a photo of a broken pump is taken, it is stored in a person’s phone and automatically uploaded once that person comes in contact with a high-speed mobile connection or Wi-Fi.
This app could be replicated by other nonprofits for other purposes in the future, and is one of several apps designed to provide people with clean water to drink. Several months ago, iPhone released the ‘Oasis Places’ app, designed by Thermos. This app allows users to track locations, ratings and photos of water fountains across the U.S., where they can go to fill up their reusable water bottle.
Don’t have a smart phone? You can still help bring clean water to the world by clicking on the widget above this post. Just one click donates water to someone in need for an entire day!