RWSN Themes

Sustainable Groundwater Development for Rural Water Supplies

Groundwater is playing an ever important role for drinking water supplies, particularly in rural areas. In many countries, there has been a switch from using unprotected surface water to protected groundwater. Groundwater is fairly ubiquitous, but its conditions vary enormously and exploitation is often undertaken with limited understanding of hydrogeology and without sufficient evaluation of the resource, especially in developing counties.

The days when pumps could be installed without considering the groundwater resource are over. Groundwater scarcity and pollution are becoming a major concern in some places. There are also regions where groundwater quality is not fit for human consumption due to a high level of arsenic, fluoride, iron or nitrates. There is also need for professionalism and vigilance to ensure that infrastructure is built to last, and that borehole provision is cost-effective. Basically, without proper drilling supervision, and quality pumps, universal access will never be met.

The Sustainable Groundwater Development theme has the longest history in RWSN, building on:

Key Publications

Where to go next:

Related Resources

Water Source Protection

Exploring ways to incentivise citizens and organisations to manage shared water resources in a fair, equitable way.

What is a Water Source Protection Plan?
A Water Source Protection Plan can be an extension of Water Safety Planning. The plan is an agreed statement between stakeholders that establishes objectives, actions, responsibilities and funding. However, it should go beyond the needs of the water infrastructure and actively look for win-win opportunities:

Key Messages
Important to sensitise land and water users in catchments to the impacts of their actions on others; aligning their self-interests with the wider collective interest is vital for avoiding conflict and protecting the rights of poorest, and the quality of the natural environment.

Bottom-up planning is essential where conventional permitting, monitoring and enforcement is ineffective or under-resourced.

More evidence is needed to show how effective locally-focused water source protection and resource management are when scaled up beyond resource-intensive pilot projects. | more information »

UPGro Catalyst projects

A synthesis and individual project activities and results

This report summarises the contribution to groundwater knowledge of the 15 catalyst projects funded through the UPGro programme between 2013 and 2014, plus the The Africa Groundwater Atlas and Literature Archive.
The projects worked in 12 individual countries (see next page - some countries had more than one project), and three had an Africa-wide focus or component.
At the time of writing two of the 15 projects are still running (Velasquez-Orta and Colombo). The Groundwater Atlas project will also continue as a major archive of African groundwater information. | more information »

Chad’s Growing Manual Drilling Industry

In Chad, manual drilling is a growing industry. This report provides an overview of manual drilling in Chad today. The report is intended to stimulate interest in more research, documentation and action regarding the diffusion of manual drilling within the country and its implications. The technology is increasing in popularity and spreading within Chad, including in the capital N’Djamena. Private enterprises and non-governmental organisations are promoting manual drilling and water users are investing in their own manually drilled wells. | more information »

A comparative study between “Rope pumps” and conventional piston pumps on water quality and other sustainability parameters

Appropriate technologies for rural water supply

In Tanzania there now are some 5000 Rope pumps both for small communities and Households. To compare Rope pumps with piston pumps like Afridev and Nira pumps regarding water quality, cost per capita and other aspects, the organisation ACRA effected a Comparative study. Some conclusions of the study are:
- Rural communities do not prefer piston pumps above Rope pump
-The water quality of tested Rope pumps is lower than Piston pumps but this is mainly due to bad installation. If installed right there is not much difference in water quality.

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-RWSN publication and endorsement by RWSN or any of its member organisations should not be inferred. | more information »

Manual Drilling Compendium 2015

RWSN Publication 2015-2

Manual drilling refers to several drilling methods that rely on human energy to construct a borehole and complete a water supply. The various techniques can be used in areas where formations are quite soft and groundwater is relatively shallow.

Manual drilling can provide safe drinking water. The equipment can easily be transported to remote, or difficult to serve populations which would otherwise be left behind. The lower costs compared to machine drilling are appreciated by households, businesses and governments. Manual drilling also provides local employment.

Manual drilling methods are being used to provide water for drinking and other domestic needs at least 36 countries around the world. In some places, manual drilling methods are well established.

The compendium provides a useful overview for those wishing to further examine the impacts and challenges of manual drilling, and, more importantly, improve practices on the ground. It is hoped that the document will spur others to undertake fur-ther studies as well as research to document stories and analyse the promotion, uptake and use of manually drilled boreholes. In addition, the compendium should also enable those promoting manual drilling to realise that they are certainly not alone in their endeavours! | more information »

Handpump Standardisation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Seeking a Champion

RWSN Publication 2015-1

Handpump standardisation is the formal or informal mechanism that governs the varieties of community handpumps used within a particular country. In a handful of countries this also includes stand-ard handpump designs. With over a million handpumps in sub-Saharan Africa and new installations every day, handpump standardisation is still vital for the policy and practices of governments and implementing organisations. While rural water practitioners are polarised about the future of formal standardisation, the extent of informal standardisation is of significant importance to the sustain-ability of handpumps across the continent. Of the thirty-five countries in sub-Saharan using handpumps, formal standardisation has emerged in fifteen through regulations (nine countries), and endorsements (six countries). However in the remaining countries, informal standardisation determines what handpumps are installed where, either through recommendations (fourteen countries), or de facto standardisation (six countries). | more information »

RWSN Webinar Series - Early 2015

Groundwater, Self-supply and Equality

Presenters from more than 15 different organisations, working in over 15 countries share their practical experiences and research findings. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions, and meet others with similar interests at the events. Topic covered include:
- radio for rural water supplies, drawing on practical experiences from Kenya and Tanzania.
- Self-supply in emergency and development contexts, and we shall be hearing from Sierra Leone as well as Ethiopia, and on the costs and quality of self-supply as well as government roles.
- five webinars on groundwater.
- experiences about dealing with gender, violence and access to WASH.

All of the presentations and links to the recordings will be posted here within two to three days of each webinar. | more information »

Framework for Water Source Protection

Ministry of Water & Environment, Uganda

These guidelines were developed as part of the wider operationalisation of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). The basis of the guidelines is developing a 'Water Source Protection Plan', which bridges the gap between Water Safety Planning, payment for watershed services and IWRM. The planning process encourages the owners/operators of water infrastructure (pumping stations, dams, valley tanks, boreholes) to identify the people in the catchment area for their water source whose activities may be impacting the quantity, quality or reliability of their water supply, and then to agree a mutually beneficial plan of action.

Of the five volumes, three are currently available from MWE from their website (or below) | more information »

Analyse des coûts et détermination des prix

Guide à l’intention des entreprises de forage d’eau

La présente note pratique est destinée aux entreprises de forage et aux sociétés qui gèrent ou participent à des projets de forage. Grâce à une approche par étape, elle donne des directives claires sur la manière d’analyser les coûts et de déterminer les prix pour la réalisation de forages. Elle fournit également des conseils de ges-tion en soulignant les réalités propres à de nombreux pays d’Afrique subsaharienne. Sa lecture vous permettra d’être mieux à même de calculer les coûts des forages, de réfléchir aux prix et de faire face aux réalités commerciales.

L’analyse des coûts et la détermination des prix passent par cinq étapes: (1) l’identification des coûts de fonctionnement de base de votre entreprise, (2) l’analyse du dossier d’appel d’offres, (3) la définition des catégories de coûts, (4) le calcul des coûts et (5) la détermination des prix. Lors de chaque étape, plusieurs points clés doivent être pris en compte. Les coûts se décomposent comme suit: implantation du forage, amenée, forage, équipement/complé¬tion, développement du forage/test de pompage et installation de la pompe. La présente note fournit des exemples pratiques et éprouvés qui permettent de comprendre aisément la méthode d’analyse des coûts et aborde également les devis quantitatifs, les procédures d’appel d’offres et la gestion des risques et des incertitudes. Les auteurs fournissent par ailleurs des conseils pour une gestion efficace de la procédure. | more information »

Implantation des forages

Guide à l’intention des chefs de projet

La présente note pratique s’adresse aux responsables de pro-grammes et de projets d’approvisionnement en eau. Elle propose un guide détaillé relatif à l’implantation de forages. Elle expose tout d’abord les principes fondamentaux pour l’élaboration d’un modèle hydrogéologique simple et fournit des explications de base visant à aider le lecteur à acquérir une meilleure compréhension de l’hydro¬géologie.

Elle détaille ensuite les éléments à prendre en compte lors du choix du site de forage, à savoir les caractéristiques du forage et une liste complète d’instructions en vue de trouver le site le plus adapté. Sont également présentés les points clés du dossier d’appel d’offres et des documents contractuels, ainsi que des informations de base sur le travail de terrain et la gestion des contrats. | more information »