RWSN Themes

Sustainable Groundwater Development for Rural Water Supplies

Groundwater provides a significant proportion of rural dwellers in the developing countries with access to safe drinking water and will continue to do so in the future. 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. In some places, heavy water use for agriculture has led to over-abstraction and placed groundwater out of the reach of domestic users as water tables have fallen. There are also regions where groundwater quality is not fit for human consumption (e.g. due to a high level of arsenic, fluoride, iron or nitrates, or contamination from human impacts such as poor sanitation, oil spills or chemicals).

The objective of the Sustainable Groundwater Development theme is: Groundwater resources are properly considered and sustainably used for developing drinking water supply sources. The theme has three sub-topics:

  • Handpump Technology
  • Cost Effective Boreholes (includes machine drilling and manual drilling)
  • Cost Effective Water Resource Management

To find out more and to get involved join the Sustainable Groundwater Development community on dgroups, or one of the specialist groups:


Related Resources

Supervision des forages d’eau potable

Guide à l’intention des superviseurs

La qualité de la supervision des forages joue un rôle primordial dans la réalisation de puits pérennes. Le présent guide s’adresse aux géologues et aux ingénieurs responsables de la construction de forages ainsi qu'aux chefs de projet. Il peut servir à la fois d'outil de formation et de manuel.

Le présent document décrit les responsabilités du superviseur aux différents stades de la construction d'un forage. Il explique ce qu’il convient de faire à chaque étape pour s’assurer que le foreur livre un ouvrage conforme aux dispositions contractuelles. | more information »

Guide N°1 Forage équipé de Pompe à Motricité Humaine (FPM)

Guide d’élaboration du Plan de Gestion de la Sécurité Sanitaire de l’Eau (PGSSE)

La Stratégie Nationale de Surveillance de la Qualité de l’Eau de Consommation, adoptée en 2012 impose aux producteurs-distributeurs d’eau destinée à la consommation humaine de se doter d’un Plan de Gestion de la Sécurité Sanitaire de l’Eau (PGSSE) ; d’effectuer régulièrement des inspections sanitaires des installations d’approvisionnement en eau potable et d’effectuer régulièrement des contrôles de la qualité de l’eau distribuée à la population.

Quel est l’objectif du PGSSE ?
Le PGSSE est un document qui comporte l’ensemble des mesures préventives et correctives permettant de réduire les risques de détérioration de la qualité de l’eau identifiés entre la zone de captage et le point de distribution de l’eau au consommateur, en passant par les unités de traitement, les points de stockage de l’eau traitée et le réseau de distribution. L’objectif de la démarche est de garantir en permanence la sécurité sanitaire de l’eau de boisson distribuée et ainsi de préserver la santé des populations. | more information »

Supply chain analysis of handpumps and spare parts in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

UNICEF Contract 43147804

This study is seen as an extension of a study carried out in 2009 by UNICEF, which mapped the handpumps and spare parts market in Africa as a whole. The study found that although large numbers of handpumps are sold in Africa each year, availability of spare parts at community level is still a great challenge. In addition, supply chains for handpumps and spare parts are normally separated, and there are challenges with availability, affordability as well as sufficient community structures to ensure demand.

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

Water for Wajir

Decision modeling for the Habaswein-Wajir Water Supply Project in Northern Kenya

Project Report from the ARIGA UPGro Catalyst Study

The city of Wajir in Northern Kenya, the capital of the county of the same name, has experienced rapid population growth in recent decades. The city has so far never had a reliable supply of clean drinking water or a sanitation system. To improve the situation, plans are currently considered to construct a water pipeline from Habaswein, another locale in Wajir County that is about 110 km away.

Regarding project design, two issues emerged as important. Poor project design was identified as one of the major risks to project success. Furthermore, activities to build consensus around the intervention and ensure that all stakeholders approve of the intervention is critical. Payments for Environmental Services were included in the model, but other benefit-sharing mechanisms, as well as awareness-raising measures, should also be explored. | more information »

Where does the water flow?

Roads runoff, soil erosion, groundwater, livelihoods and poverty alleviation in Tigray, Ethiopia

The study is part of the UpGro project. Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro). Based on fieldwork conducted in 2014 in the semi‐arid region of Tigray, Ethiopia, this report explores the physical and socio‐economic impacts of road related surface and groundwater flows – and how people cope with and adapt to them. We argue that two distinctive objectives of improving road connectivity and improving water availability for irrigation – are linked and could be served by the same infrastructure, which we call multifunctional roads.

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

Optimizing Intensified Runoff from Roads for Supplemental Irrigation: Tigray Region, Ethiopia


From the UPGro Catalyst Project "Optimising Road Development for Groundwater Recharge and Retention"

This research has demonstrated that the road in the study area is having significant negative impact to the agricultural livelihoods, but that also it has a huge potential to be a key contributor to the enhancement of the livelihoods. The three major recommendations are :( 1) for the betterment of the impacts, it is suggested that Roads for water harvesting and multiple uses be mainstreamed in educational systems (2) There should be integration between relevant institutions and authorities (ERA, MoA as well as regional and zonal line offices) in making future road development plans. And (3) Awareness generation should be done to encourage farmers utilize the runoff from roads for productive purposes. Moreover, technical assistance and training's needs to be delivered at grass-root level. | more information »

How to Make Water Wise Roads

This note may serve as guideline on how to combine roads and water harvesting. The investment in roads in almost any country far exceeds that in local water management or watershed protection. Hence roads offer one of the largest opportunities to secure local water supplies, if done wisely and in an integrated way. This document describes both the governance and proceses to combine road development with water management as well as how recharge, retention and reuse (3R) of water can be enhanced through improved designs.

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

Optimising Road Development for Groundwater Recharge and Retention

Final Workshop

This is one of the 15 UPGro Catalyst Projects. This one looked at ways at which roads can be used to improve groundwater recharge in Ethiopia. Below are the presentations from the final project workshop which from this exciting project.

There are also links to some the final reports (filed separately).

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

India Mark II Major Maintenance Guide

This is a stripped down, no-nonsense guide to stripping down an India Mark II handpump, with clear photos, diagrams and text. It is undated.

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

Développement de l’accès durable à l’eau souterraine: utilisation, protection, amélioration

Publication 2014-3

La présente publication du Réseau pour l’approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural (RWSN) souhaite mieux faire comprendre l’importance cruciale que revêtent les eaux souterraines et souligner les risques qui pèsent sur leur pérennité. Elle s’adresse aux responsables politiques, aux décideurs, aux partenaires gouvernementaux et au grand public. Elle prône une utilisation responsable des eaux souterraines et met en garde contre les abus. Elle encourage les usagers à protéger et à améliorer ces ressources précieuses afin de servir les intérêts à long terme des communautés les plus vulnérables ayant principalement recours aux pompes manuelles. | more information »