IT-Enabled Service Delivery in Informal Settlements

Cityspec is a mobile monitoring device enabling residents in informal settlements to identify and report service delivery problems to authorities.

Cityspec is a mobile tool citizens in Cape Town’s informal settlements can use to report problems with communal services, such as toilets, water taps, and streetlights. Trained community workers log reports, take photos, capture GPS data, and report issues to the city so that problems can be fixed quickly and efficiently.
The system’s cloud-based structure allows community workers to create and track inspections and monitor the status of facilities on an ongoing basis. Cityspec is currently being piloted in Monwabisi Park, an informal settlement in Cape Town with approximately 26,000 residents. In January 2016, inspection runs with Cityspec identified and reported 56 faults on water taps and 115 faults on toilets.

Relevance of solution

While the city aims to provide one toilet for every five households and one tap for every 25 households in informal settlements, Cityspec’s trial in Monwabisi Park found the ratio to be 1 working toilet per 27 households and 1 working tap per 50 households. Such pressured services result in unhygienic and unsafe facilities. By allowing community members to monitor their own services, Cityspec expedites maintenance for these critical facilities, in turn improving the health and stability of these communities.

Triple Bottom Line

Environmental

About 25% of South Africa’s clean drinking water is lost to leaks and poor infrastructure.1 Cityspec seeks to reduce this by making sure leaks and other facility problems are fixed in a timely manner.

Social

By ensuring that toilet and water facilities are in working order, Cityspec helps reduce the spread of diseases and helps prevent diarrhea and other illnesses.

Economic

Cityspec can help reduce the $480 million worth of water that is lost to leaks, water theft, and free water allowances in South Africa annually.2


Sources

  1. Daily Maverick. “No Drop to Waste: Tackling South Africa’s Water Crisis.” (2015.)
  2. South African Government. “Saving Water Loss by Fixing Wasteful Leaks.” (2015.)