The guiding principle for the mapping component is that organising and displaying information on maps is useful for planning and implementing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, particularly in engaging different stakeholders. Maps are an excellent way of making complex and diverse information easily accessible. Making maps that combine different datasets, such as rainfall, geology, water points and population density can be a good starting point for discussions between stakeholders about improving WASH services. Mapping as an approach is not dependent on access to technology: maps can be developed at a range of levels from grass-root levels such as a community creating maps by hand, to a specialised level using sophisticated GIS.

RiPPLE’s mapping component cuts across all of our research and supports activities under the Growth and Access themes. Mapping under RiPPLE also functions as a capacity building activity for researchers, practitioners and policy entrepreneurs to improve the design, implementation and monitoring of WASH.


Groundwater mapping thumbnailGroundwater availability mapping

The mapping team has worked in Benishangul-Gumuz region to develop a map of groundwater availability during drought years. This is then overlain by a map of population density, to indicate levels of water supply and demand.

Our groundwater availability map shows a wide variation in groundwater availability, and could be a useful resource for planners in the water sector. For example, it indicates areas where deeper drilled wells may be more appropriate than hand dug wells, or where alternative solutions such as sand dams or rainwater harvesting may be necessary to augment supply. It could also help to identify areas which might support the development of community-scale irrigation schemes.

Fluoride mapping

This Fluoride mapping poster has been prepared showing concentrations of fluoride in water sources across Ethiopia. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element but at high concentrations it can cause health problems and over ten million people in Ethiopia could be at risk. The map indicates that high fluoride concentrations occur mainly in the Rift Valley, but that wells or springs only a short distance apart may have very different fluoride concentrations. It could help the siting of new wells and support further analysis of the socio-economic and nutrition factors which may also contribute to the development of fluorosis and health impacts.

Mapping Toolkits and Guides

Thumbnail of mapping toolkitThe mapping team has prepared a mapping toolkit based on their experience in Benishangul-Gumuz region. The toolkit highlights the value of mapping in supporting WASH, and suggests ways to develop mapping approaches to improve WASH services.

Also developed by RiPPLE MSc students, are three guides produced to illustrate how, based on the same information, different types of maps can target different types of users.  There is a guide for planners, another for GIS developers and for groundwater specialists.

Page last updated 28 Aug 2009