Above: Theo from USP and water committee chair Enock installing a real time logger in Pele. Photo:Theophile Duduni
As part of the Water for Women fund, ISF has been investigating ‘self-supply’ of drinking water in Indonesia and Vanuatu. Think household or communal rainwater tanks, water sources that individual households own and manage rather than being supplied by a government or corporation.
In Vanuatu, ISF is working with the University of South Pacific (USP) and the Department of Water Resources (DoWR) to understand self-supply in small islands. Border closures in Vanuatu meant that for most of the research in Vanuatu, ISF has only been able to provide remote support, while the USP team carried out the in-country research activities. However, in July, we finally connected in person with our research partners, and installed some timely environmental monitoring equipment.
On the islands of Tutuba, Pele, and Aniwa, ISF and USP installed rain gauges on each island, and water level sensors in over 30 communal and household rainwater tanks. These sensors will collect important data on how households use their rainwater supply and help us answer if self-supply provides a reliable year-round water supply. It will also help us determine if investment in household or community tanks is a better way to support self-supply.
Snapshot of the remote logging software showing water tank levels and rainfall. Source: Farmbot.com.au
Some of the sensors provide real-time data, as shown in the image below. These units provide regular updates on rainwater tank water levels, and provide alerts when levels are critically low. As well as informing the self-supply research, we are hoping the real-time logging provides an important ‘proof of concept’ for DoWR on how remote logging can support their efforts to improve rural water supply security. In Vanuatu, one DoWR provincial water officer may support hundreds of water committees across several remote islands. Hence, remote logging can provide one approach to track and prioritise DoWR’s support to village water supply.