Web based mapping of water supply situation in Mathare valley
Informal settlements are home to an increasing number of the urban poor. The lack of basic services, from sanitation and waste removal to water and electricity, has resulted in untenable conditions for the poor. Despite the importance of water supply and improved sanitation for achieving progress in the Millennium Development Goals, the water supply situation in Kenya’s informal settlements is still dismal. The needs of people living in informal settlements are often neglected or unmet due to lack of proper data on the situation on the ground to aid in decision making. Without basic knowledge on the geography and resources in a slum, it is very difficult to make informed decisions on improving the quality of life of slum dwellers. According to the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, lack of clear maps is one of the hindrances to proper service provision in the informal settlement, and this project aimed to fill that gap (NCWSC, 2009). The objective of this study was to investigate water supply situation in Mathare Informal Settlement and its constituent villages in Nairobi and present this information in a Web based interface. Availability of this information to the Nairobi City Water and Sanitation Council (NCWSC) and other stakeholders would allow them to make informed decisions on availability, use and administration of resources such as water in the slums. The study was conducted based on existing information aggregated from different sources. The data was then represented in Webpage showing specific information and maps for each area/informal settlement and covered the 20 villages that constitute Mathare Informal Settlement and point data showing the water resources location such as kiosks, wells and yard taps. Questions that were answered in this study include the state of the water supply situation, the cost of water, time taken to fetch the water and the user’s perception of the water quality. This project has proved that Web mapping is a useful tool for representing spatial and non-spatial information and the level of the detail in the study goes to show that such an undertaking should be considered for the entire country. In this study the integration of spatial and tabular information into a Web based resource has proved to be a powerful tool in visualizing, querying and communicating the availability, location and spread of water resources in the informal settlements.