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Thanks for the great feedback! lots of questions to answer so themes are in bold.

It does seem like the advice is either to do an observational study, use a remote meter, or don’t do it at all. We have some specific barriers that may make using remote meters in some locations challenging (listed below) but not impossible.

We hopefully will use remote meters in the future but I am interested in understanding all available options for comparison before moving ahead.

Just to reiterate the need for a robust meter: It seems like one could get useful abstraction data using a domestic meter, that works with sub-optimal water conditions, monitored by a community member with a cell/mobile phone, who reports readings through an established system (see/saw, mwater, akvo).

As such, I am not looking for a pre-existing version of charity:water etc’s device, but alternatives currently on the market that could produce similar data.

I’m new to this and charity:water’s device is the one I have researched the least. Why charity water might not be best for my needs

Bad GSM coverage. I work on sand dams, which by design are located in valleys, and most of our projects are in areas with poor coverage, so technology reliant on GSM coverage on site wouldn’t work across all our locations. It might get complicated if we have several different monitoring systems. In areas with patchy GSM coverage reporting could still be done by an individual, they could take the reading from the domestic meter, find a spot with better coverage, and send the report even with an old nokia. (its not ideal, but it would extend the areas where remote reporting was suitable)

I am aware some of these devices (like austins welldone(not yet on the market)) are blue tooth enabled.

• If there is a low tech solution that works and is proven it seems like it would be worth exploring for comparison.

Good point about turbidity. Turbidity is a problem with metering across many African water utilities (8 min into this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgi9tmYs5G8) I don’t have great turbidity data for all our partners, but those who do monitor usually <5 NTU but occasionally higher. I have personally tested with greater NTUs than this (especially if they have been out of use for a short time)

Some meters block/jam and give false readings when turbidity is high even for a short time (likely the cause of blockage in the above articles). The remoteness of our projects means that blockage is not acceptable.

Having spoken to meter manufacturers, even low NTU values can result in damage. (my understanding is Welldone have addressed this problem, it isn’t a problem for “smart pumps” due to the accelerometer, and sweetlab weren’t too clear, though that was a long time ago.)

Cheers for the observational study advice (phone, buckets, stop watch). This will be the solution if all else fails. I have no experience in carrying them out but will look into it further. Having chatted with a few people about this it seems as though direct metering may be more accurate if it is possible.

The value gained from monitoring flow may be specific to sand dams as abstraction rates may be a proxy for dam health.

• Demonstration of value for money.

• Pinpoint high and low yielding dams and study them further, potentially identifying building methods, siting, and social factors that lead to a high yielding well used, dams. To develop a profile of where dams are most appropriate.

• Understanding of how abstraction rates change throughout the year

• Significantly, having a cell phone reporting system would enable the informant to report pump brake down and problems with the dam even if the dam is not covered by gsm.

It is certainly not perfect but it could be useful (especially as there are numerous abstraction methods employed per dam)

In ending, is there a cheap, robust, proven domestic meter capable of dealing with turbidity and air pockets? I know there are other solutions soon to be on the market, but it seems to me there is reason to answer this.

I'm new to this and come from a disease control back ground so I look forward to your patients if im barking up the wrong tree.

Thanks for the great feedback! lots of questions to answer so themes are in bold.

It does seem seems like the advice is either to do an observational study, use a remote meter, or don’t do it at all. We have some specific barriers that may make using remote meters in some locations challenging (listed below) but not impossible.

We hopefully will use remote meters in the future but I am interested in understanding all available options for comparison before moving ahead.

Just to reiterate the need for a robust meter: It seems like one could get useful abstraction data using a domestic meter, that works with sub-optimal water conditions, monitored by a community member with a cell/mobile phone, who reports readings through an established system (see/saw, mwater, akvo).

As such, I am not looking for a pre-existing version of charity:water etc’s device, but alternatives currently on the market that could produce similar data.

I’m new to this and charity:water’s device is the one I have researched the least. Why charity water might not be best for my needs

Bad GSM coverage. I work on sand dams, which by design are located in valleys, and most of our projects are in areas with poor coverage, so technology reliant on GSM coverage on site wouldn’t work across all our locations. It might get complicated if we have several different monitoring systems. In areas with patchy GSM coverage reporting could still be done by an individual, they could take the reading from the domestic meter, find a spot with better coverage, and send the report even with an old nokia. (its not ideal, but it would extend the areas where remote reporting was suitable)

I am aware some of these devices (like austins welldone(not yet on the market)) are blue tooth enabled.

• If there is a low tech solution that works and is proven it seems like it would be worth exploring for comparison.

Good point about turbidity. Turbidity is a problem with metering across many African water utilities (8 min into this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgi9tmYs5G8) I don’t have great turbidity data for all our partners, but those who do monitor usually <5 NTU but occasionally higher. I have personally tested with greater NTUs than this (especially if they have been out of use for a short time)

Some meters block/jam and give false readings when turbidity is high even for a short time (likely the cause of blockage in the above articles). The remoteness of our projects means that blockage is not acceptable.

Having spoken to meter manufacturers, even low NTU values can result in damage. (my understanding is Welldone have addressed this problem, it isn’t a problem for “smart pumps” due to the accelerometer, and sweetlab weren’t too clear, though that was a long time ago.)

Cheers for the observational study advice (phone, buckets, stop watch). This will be the solution if all else fails. I have no experience in carrying them out but will look into it further. Having chatted with a few people about this it seems as though direct metering may be more accurate if it is possible.

The value gained from monitoring flow may be specific to sand dams as abstraction rates may be a proxy for dam health.

• Demonstration of value for money.

• Pinpoint high and low yielding dams and study them further, potentially identifying building methods, siting, and social factors that lead to a high yielding well used, dams. To develop a profile of where dams are most appropriate.

• Understanding of how abstraction rates change throughout the year

• Significantly, having a cell phone reporting system would enable the informant to report pump brake down and problems with the dam even if the dam is not covered by gsm.

It is certainly not perfect but it could be useful (especially as there are numerous abstraction methods employed per dam)

In ending, is there a cheap, robust, proven domestic meter capable of dealing with turbidity and air pockets? I know there are other solutions soon to be on the market, but it seems to me there is reason to answer this.

I'm new to this and come from a disease control back ground so I look forward to your patients if im barking up the wrong tree.