Average Queuing Time at a Water Point

Outcome indicator, Output indicator

Indicator Phrasing

the average queuing time at the target water points
le temps moyen d'attente aux sources d'eau ciblées
průměrná doba čekání na vodu u cílových vodních zdrojů

Indicator Phrasing

English: the average queuing time at the target water points

French: le temps moyen d'attente aux sources d'eau ciblées

Czech: průměrná doba čekání na vodu u cílových vodních zdrojů

What is its purpose?

The indicator measures the average time the respondents spend between arriving at the water source and starting to fill their water container. Excessive queuing times are indicators of insufficient water availability due to either an inadequate number of water points or their insufficient yields.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

In order to ensure the maximum precision of your data, it is recommended that the queuing time is measured by observations instead of interviews with the target groups. The following procedure is proposed:


1) Randomly select water points across different locations of your operation. Specify for each water point the time period of your monitoring (for example, 1 day, from 7am until 7pm). Assign a sufficient number of data collectors (for example, one person monitors in the morning, the second in the afternoon).


2) Prepare a simple recording sheet where the data collector records the water user’s identification, arrival time and the time when s/he started collecting water.


3) Collect the data by randomly selecting newly arrived users (do not observe all users - select just those which are easy to recognize from other users - for example, based on their distinct clothes). 


4) Calculate the indicator's value by summing up the individual waiting times of the observed water source users and dividing it by the total number of observed users. 

Important Comments

1) Throughout the day, there can be significant variations in the queuing time. For example, the duration in the morning (when the demand for water is the highest) can be much longer than in the early afternoon. Therefore, it is important that:

- your baseline and endline data is recorded during exactly the same time period (for example, from 7am to 7pm)

- the data is collected throughout the entire day (avoid using convenience methods, such as arriving after the start of your organization’s working hours and leaving before the end)


2) In the emergency contexts, you are recommended to use Sphere Standards and change the indicator to:

> the % of households with a queuing time at a water source of no more than 30 minutes

(use it only if you know that the time limit is realistic – for example, if the average waiting time for all users is not well above 30 minutes)

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