Innovating Bali’s water quality testing systems with Kopernik
Universal access to safe and affordable drinking water is still a challenge. In remote areas of Bali, E. coli is a common contaminant, and timely, accurate and reliable water quality data is hard to come by.
Kopernik Solutions is a non-profit organisation working to find innovative ways of reducing poverty. In 2018, Kopernik received a grant to perform E. coli tests using innovative technologies. Using Akvo’s water quality testing solution, an experiment was conducted on the drinking water in Bali.
Above: A local man transports water that he just collected from a public well. Indonesia, November 2018.
Water quality testing in remote areas is a challenge. Usually, it’s done by collecting a limited number of water samples and transporting them to laboratories. The time required to perform and complete the tests, as well as the transport and laboratory costs, results in high costs per test and questionable data quality. Samples may get altered in transit and results are not timely, which can lead to interventions based on inaccurate data.
Nanis Sakti Ningrum, part of Kopernik's Solutions Lab team, analyses the results of an E. coli test. Indonesia, November 2018.
Kopernik wanted to find an alternative solution to lab testing for E. coli contamination in remote areas. In Bali, Akvo and Kopernik joined forces to conduct an experiment using Akvo’s water quality testing system. With Akvo’s data platform and hardware, instant field tests are connected to a mobile-phone based data collection application and real-time decision making dashboards.
Akvo’s team in Bali was involved from the very beginning. The partnership began with a thorough design phase, first gaining a clear understanding of the context and then collaboratively designing the surveys. Akvo’s team also trained the other partners in water testing and data collection, and supported them in gathering insights from the data. Kopernik took the lead in water sampling, data recording, monitoring and reporting.
The results revealed that between 80% and 83% of the time, the results from Akvo’s water quality testing system matched the laboratory test results for E. coli in drinking water. The system also reduced the amount of time it took to perform 1000 tests by 67%, providing timely insights for immediate decision making.
Akvo’s innovative water quality testing system can give immediate results for large scale and comprehensive water quality studies. In 2019, Akvo and Kopernik are working together to scale this water quality solution and ensure safe drinking water for the people of Bali.