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The co-production of the Metropolitan Water Observatory (MWO) platform

KNOW Working Paper No. 8 | March 2022

By Andrea Jimenez, Fenna Imara Hoefsloot, Liliana Miranda Sara


This working paper examines the development and design of the Observatorio Metropolitano de Agua para Lima-Callao (MWO): a co-produced digital observatory for water and data justice.


The metropolitan city of Lima and Callao (hereafter referred to as Lima) faces a water security challenge, which results from the combination of scarce water resources with inefficient and unequal distribution. The lack or limited water access has been a crucial factor shaping inequality patterns in the city. Amongst the challenges for improving water distribution are the difficulties around mapping water needs and the lack of adequate and comprehensive data for all citizens since a significant part of the population is excluded from formal government datasets. Those living in subservice areas, who do not have access to administrative or political structures, and migrants are examples of such exclusion from formal government sources for evidence-based policy and implementation.  The purpose of the MWO is to contribute to a fairer distribution of water resources amongst urban residents within Lima. By combining collaborative design approaches with the theory-informed data justice guidelines, we have developed a prototype of the MWO with participants from three districts in Lima. The MWO  aims to challenge the hegemonic representation of Lima’s water infrastructure and help communicate the experiences and views of residents currently overlooked. In addition, the MWO teaches us how to design digital platforms according to the principles of data justice in practice.

Key words: Water, data, digital, co-production, services, inequality, infrastructure, Lima, Peru

For more information about this working paper please contact 

ISSN 2632-7562

KNOW Working Papers are produced online by KNOW and may be downloaded and used, subject to the usual rules governing academic acknowledgement at: under the ISN 2632-7562 (CC BY-SA)

Small Grants Fund 

This working paper presents  research funded by the KNOW Small Grants Fund. The Fund awards grants that enable UK-based scholars at UK universities, policy research institutions, and NGOs with a  research portfolio to conduct research relating to the theme of urban equality in one of the KNOW partner cities. 


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