RWSN Forum

Since 1992, RWSN (which was the Handpump Technology Network until 2003) has organised six international forums:





Handpump Technology Network founded



2nd International HTN Workshop



3rd International HTN Workshop



4th International HTN Forum – HTN changed to RWSN

South Africa


5th International RWSN Forum



6th International RWSN Forum


The 7th Forum is planned for late 2016.

International WASH conferences

RWSN members actively network at other events, often representing the network as well as their own organisations, advocating for better skills, investment and policy for rural water supply.  Where possible we try and have presentations, side events or stands at 1-2 international conferences a year. Since 2011, RWSN has been active at:


RWSN is about connecting people are passionate about tackling poverty and providng the most basic of services - clean water.

While nothing beats meeting people face-to-face, there are more and more ways in which you can meet like-minded professionals and solve your problems together and share knowledge and ideas. Below are just some of the ways that we encourage you to find each other, and also keep up to date with the latest news and information.

  • RWSN LinkedIn group - the Secretariat posts news updates here at least weekly, often daily and encourages other to do so too.
  • Twitter - there is an @RWSN account, but most activity is through the account of Sean Furey (@thewatercyclist), of the RWSN Secretariat
  • RWSN Facebook page - major new updates are posted here
  • RWSN on Vimeo - where we post most of our videos.
  • RWSN on YouTube - we post some videos here, but not so many, it's better to use our Vimeo page.

For academics, you can follow Dr Kerstin Danert and Sean Furey on ResearchGate - and we like following your research!


RWSN is about connecting people and to do this online we use a platform called Dgroups, which is run by the non-for-profit Dgroups Foundation, based in the Netherlands. The Dgroups vision is:

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice - See more at:

Dgroups vision:

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice

- See more at:

Dgroups vision:

A world where every person is able to contribute constructively to dialogue and decision-making for international development and social justice

- See more at:

Skat Foundation, on behalf of RWSN, is a member of Dgroups, which gives us a stake in how the platform is run and developed. Dgroups was chosen because it has been designed specifically for development professionals and can be used through email and through a low-bandwidth website, thus making it ideal for communicating with members who have limited internet connectivity.

Our area of Dgroups has a main community of nearly 8,000 members which we use as our membership database. It is tightly controlled and only used for sending out quarterly newsletters and major announcements.

Discussion areas have been set up around the four RWSN themes, and cross-cutting topics and special interests. We consider setting up sub-communities if there is a champion to lead and moderate the group and enough interest from members. 

How to Join

Follow the links below to go the web page for each community and to appy to join, if you are not already a member. Please note that being a member of one community (or the overall network) does not automatically give you access to the sub-communities. Please apply through the web page for each community and the moderator for that community will let you in. Some communities are more active that anothers. Some sub-communities are nested within others that are related, so you will receive emails from and can contribute to both.


The communities are generally there for open discussion and question and answer on the topic of that community (and are moderated to keep them on track). However, usually once a year we have a structrued e-discussion, which typically lasts four weeks and uses weekly questions and summaries to stimate debate on a particular topic. At the bottom of the page you will find links to summaries and syntheses of recent e-discussions.

These are very powerful and effective events at generating knowledge exchange across the world and building up a valuable aggregation of knowledge. In some cases they have helped drive the strategy of the network and our partners.

The RWSN Dgroups directory

Overall RWSN Community

Theme sub-communities
Topic sub-communities
Geographic/Language sub-communities

How to use Dgroups

Download our quick guide, available in [English] and [French]

RWSN is an active network that has an established history of producing high quality, concise publications to help practitioners who are designing, implementing or reviewing rural water services. We continue to innovate by trying new online and face-to-face ways to encourage useful knowledge exchange and technology transfer between individuals, between organisations, even between countries or continents.

To find out more about particular activities select from the menu on the right.

If you have any ideas on how we could improve - or feedback on what we are doing at the moment, then please get in touch!

What is the RWSN online document library?

A major part of this website is the document library, which contains hundreds of documents, manuals and technical specifications, as well as publications produced by the network.

Our collection focuses as much as possible on practical knowledge because we want to help you to build, maintain and upgrade high quality rural water supply systems and services. While we have collated a diverse array of documents, we aim to provide the definitive online library for a few topics in particular:

  • Handpump Technology
  • Manual Drilling
  • Accelerating Self-supply

If we are missing something, then please let us know and we will upload it.

How to use the RWSN online document library

You can access the library in different ways:

  • the "Library" menu at the top of every page (between "Events" and "Blog")
  • "Library" blue boxes on most pages on the lefthand side, underneath "Regions and Countries" and "Collaboration"
  • "Library: {theme}" appears as the first sub-menu when you click on one of the "RWSN Themes"
  • At the bottom of many pages you will see a selection of documents from the library related to the topic of that page. At the bottom is a small blue button "more resources" that will take you to the library.
  • by typing what you are looking for in the "search..." box at the top of every page. When the results page comes up there are several check boxes that allow you to refine your search to just in the Library.

Once in the library you can refine your search the filters on the righthand side of the page, many filters have sub-filters. For example, if you select 'Sub-Saharan Africa' you are then given the choice of countries within that region (however not all countries are in the system to avoid having huge lists that generate zero results).

A tick mark will appear by filters that are select. Note that some filters are pre-selected by the menu that brought you there. For example: "Library: Self-supply" will only shown those resources categorised by that theme.

You can also sort the results by "Author", "Year", "Downloads" and "Title" by clicking on the small blue up or down arrow next the label.

How to download a document

When you have found what you wanted in the library, click on the title and it will take you a page that contains:

  • An illustrative picture or front cover of the document
  • A short description or abstract of the document
  • the bibliographical reference, using the Harvard system so that it can be copied and pasted into your publications when citing the work.
  • Hyperlinks to related parts of the RWSN website, or to related websites or recordings.
  • "Downloads (X)" the number in brackets tells you how many times the document has been downloaded. Below that are one or more grey boxes (some entries contain multiple entries). Click on the title to download. It also shows the document type (e.g. pdf) and the file size (Megabytes,MB)

Still can't find what you are looking for?

Send an email to ruralwater (at) and we will do our best to help.




RWSN began in 1992 as the Handpump Technology Network (HTN) and perhaps the network's most long-lasting impact to date has been through making technical design specifications freely available for a number of public domain handpumps. Today, millions of these handpumps can be found around the world. Some countries have their own standard pump designs that are variants of the public domain standards or - in the case of the India Mark II/III - based on those held by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The RWSN standards on this website can be used by anyone and are used by many handpump manufacturers - if your organisation is looking at buying handpumps then make sure that they conform to the relevant standards. Many pump failures are caused by poor quality manufacture.

Click here to find all our standards.

To understand the history of how these standards were developed and how handpump standardisation (the short-listing or regulation of what handpump types are permitted in a particular country), have a read of the following:

The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) is an Africa-wide initiative managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The initiative is funded through contributions from the Bank, bilateral and multilateral agencies, African governments and communities and the RWSSI Trust Fund (TF).  RWSSI supports rural water and sanitation projects and programmes with funding for investment operations, strengthening of sector processes and systems, as well as through advocacy and knowledge building. RWSSI is one of the Department’s flagship initiatives, whose overall objective is to accelerate access to drinking water supply and sanitation in rural Africa.

To find out more about the RWSSI programme, visit the AfDB website.


What is a ‘webinar’?

The term ‘webinar’ comes from ‘seminar’ and ‘world wide web’, so refers to an online meeting or seminar where participants can hear a presenter give a talk and see the presenter’s slides (usually Microsoft PowerPoint).

Our webinars usually have a facilitator who introduces the speakers. Sometimes there will be a discussant – someone who is invited to their reaction to what has just been presented. We also try and leave enough time at the end for a question and answer session, where participants can type their questions into the chat box.

Why are some webinars only in English?

We have limited time and funding and bi-lingual webinars require substantially more preparation and staffing.

Are you planning to have webinars in more languages?

Currently, RWSN is striving to be a fully bi-lingual network (English-French) to encourage sharing between practitioners in Anglophone and Francophone countries. Some webinars and documents are also available in Spanish.  We would love to include other languages at some point, but the cost and complexity is beyond our means right now.

Do I need to register for each webinar?

Yes. Instructions on how to register will be given in the email announcement sent to the RWSN dgroup community ( and in other online announcements. 

You need to register in advance of the webinar so that you are sent the correct joining instructions – every webinar has its own unique code.

What do I need to join a webinar?

You will need:

  • „A computer (PC or Apple Mac) or Smart Phone / Tablet
  • „An Internet connection – preferably fast broadband
  • „We currently use Cisco Webex, and you will need a browser plug-in, which is installed when you join a meeting or the Webex app for your mobile device
  • „A computer headset for audio (computer speakers are not recommended, unless you are sharing your computer with more than one person during the webinar)

If the internet connection is slow then you have a telephone next to your computer that you can use at the same time.

Where to find recordings of past webinars

All our webinars are recorded and posted on the RWSN Vimeo channel [English] and [French]

Presentation files can be downloaded from the library on this website:


The RWSN newsletter is usually sent to the whole network each quarter (Feb/May/Aug/Nov) and contains the latest compilation of news and links relating to rural water supplies around the world. The French version is sent to over a 1,000 francophone members.  The secretariat currently has no capacity to offer support to other languages, but if we get enough demand we will looking at getting it translated so that it can reach a wider audience.

To receive the newsletter, join RWSN on Dgroups.

To contribute to the newsletter contact the RWSN Secretariat.

Regular features include:

    • Accelerating Self Supply
    • Equity and Inclusion in Rural Water Supply
    • Sustainable Groundwater Development
    • Management and Support for Rural Water Supply
    • Sponsored content

Past editions of the newsletter can be found on this website:

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