In April 2017, the Kannur District Administration (KDA) launched the WaterKan mobile application. It was developed by the Mobile App Development Competency Centre of the National Informatics Centre as a part of its drought mitigation drive to monitor and ensure the proper functioning of water kiosks and water supply in the district.
The failure of monsoons over the past two years has greatly impacted the state and led to the drying of rivers and lakes, and falling water levels. In this regard, the district administration has started distributing water directly to about 60 panchayats. Besides, it is distributing water through kiosks to various municipalities. In order to ensure smooth water supply, the authority launched the WaterKan application that allows consumers to not only monitor the status of water supply, but also lodge complaints directly to the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) in case of any issue. The mobile application can be downloaded on all Android-based mobile phones from the Google Play Store.
Functions of the WaterKan application
The newly launched application offers a number of facilities under the following tabs:
- Kiosk Issue: This tab enables customers to contact water suppliers for filling kiosks through a call or an SMS. On pressing this tab, there is an option to select the Localbody Type – that is, the corporation, municipality or panchayat. The “Corporation” option displays one corporation – Kannur; the “Municipality” option displays nine different municipalities – Anthoor, Iritty, Koothuparamba, Nattannur, Panoor, Payyannur, Sreekandapuram, Taliparamba, and Thalassery; and the “Panchayat” option displays more than 70 different panchayats. On selecting the Localbody Type, the application displays a list of water suppliers, with their names, designations, contact details and divisions. These suppliers can be contacted through an SMS or a call through the application. This tab enables customers to reach out to water suppliers to report any issue relating to the water supply at kiosks.
- KWA Issue: Through this tab, users can contact the concerned person from the KWA to report any kind of issue. This tab also has an option to select Localbody Type. The options displayed under this tab are the same as those displayed under the Kiosk Issue tab. On selecting the Localbody Type option, the application displays the list of concerned people from the KWA, with their names, designations, contact details and divisions. These suppliers can be contacted through a call or an SMS to report water supply issues in the concerned locality.
- Locate Kiosk: This tab enables users to locate water kiosks through Google Maps within a radius of 5 km from the user’s location.
- Locate Tanker: Through this tab, the user can identify all the current locations of water tankers on Google Maps.
The introduction of a mobile-based application by the Kannur District Administration for monitoring water supply in drought-hit areas has made the authority’s operations more transparent and enhanced its accountability to consumers. Such an initiative will play a crucial role in bridging the communication gap between consumers and service providers. Moreover, the facility to locate nearby kiosks and tanks using Google Maps and direct interaction with the concerned people from the KWA will help change the way complaints are reported by users and handled by the local authorities.
In addition, the authority has installed GPS-enabled devices in all vehicles supplying water to kiosks to effectively monitor the status of water collection and filling activities by tankers. Apart from this, there is a portal and a mobile-based system for officials to monitor the drought mitigation works. The successful implementation of these initiatives will go a long way in encouraging other corporations and local bodies to undertake similar measures for adopting a smarter approach for efficient service delivery.