For the past seven months, much work has gone into reorganising and expanding the Water Studio (a.k.a. Water Portal) of Akvopedia, Akvo’s online encyclopedia for WASH resources. In addition to the roughly 70 articles that were already in the Water Studio, we have added at least 90 brand new technology pages, more than doubling the original content.

It all began when we received a request from CARE Nederlands to add material from their 2010 desk study about Resilient WASH systems in drought-prone areas into Akvopedia. The study outlined a lot of detail about tough drought conditions and how to use water technologies like fog collection and infiltration ponds in the most efficient ways possible to access and conserve water. This seemed like the perfect time to reorganise and upgrade Akvopedia to allow room for more content, as well as provide a clear, intuitive structure that could be expanded upon by anyone.

Children standing around a Hydraulic ram pump. Photo: AID Foundation, Phillippines.

Easier navigation

The home page of the Water Studio holds the same clear grid-like format with icon drawings that represent the various water technologies. The category columns were changed into five sections: Sources & Recharge, Water Lifting Devices, Treatment & Testing, Storage & distribution, and Productive Use (i.e. irrigation). Because of the expanding number of technologies, we have restructured the content using a two-level navigation — the new home page now takes you to submenus.

Example – Aquifer recharge

Top row of the Aquifer Recharge submenu in the Water Studio of Akvopedia.

For instance, the Aquifer recharge – general page (level 2) is accessed from the Sources & Recharge column in the home page of the new Water Studio. Clicking on the icon takes you to a page where 12 water technologies related to aquifer recharge are listed in a table. In addition, the general page holds a short introduction defining aquifer recharge (with advice about climate change effects) at the top of the page, and useful links at the bottom.

If you click on any of the aquifer recharge technologies in the table (by clicking either on the icon, the image, or the text), you will arrive at the actual article. Each technology article follows a similar format that includes an Introduction; Suitable conditions; Construction, operations and maintenance; Costs; Field experiences;  Reference manuals, videos, and links; with Acknowledgements at the very end.

Lots of new additions

The Akvopedia Water Studio now contains more than double the content. Ninety brand new technology pages were added, such as those on gabions (a fence-wrapped bundle of rocks used to slow down water in a river), and new irrigation methods like drum systems, bucket kits and farm kits (water in a small tank or from a hose, nearby, irrigates a field).

We also separated community pumps from household pumps, as well as centralised water treatment (CT) systems from household water treatment (HWT) systems.

One new article added: a household water treatment method – Arsenic filter:oxidation method. Photo: Philippine Center for Water and Sanitation

And there you have it. A simplified, better organised, greatly expanded Akvopedia for all sorts of water resource technologies. We will keep adding more and more content, so check back often and spread the word. And if you have anything at all to add – a technology you don’t see on there, or an expansion of something already on there, do let us know. As it is a wiki, we rely on you to improve the content here. Contact Mark T. Westra, m.t.westra@akvo.org.

Winona Azure is an Akvopedia Editor