Improving skills and professionalism in the Rural Water Supply sector is critical to its success. Rural water supply schemes need to be robust, cost effective, accessible, well designed and well built. However, good water projects aren't on their own aren't enough, they need to be part of a broader rural water supply service that is reliable, affordable and accessible to all members of society.

RWSN brings together the know-how and expertise from different water supply technologies and service approaches from around the world. This section draws together some of the key resources that should be of help to those involved in training and education for rural water supply.

The RWSN Secretariat has compiled a list of relevant online and face-to-face trainings of relevance to the rural water sector, mainly in English, with some also in French. You can download it here (last updated in 2019). 

Also take a look at our webinar recordings, which can be useful as learning and teaching tools.

Links from here do not constitute an endorsement from RWSN - please let us know of any broken links

Training Courses/Organisations

University Departments/Courses

Vocational Training Centres

The RWSN Secretariat has compiled a list of relevant online and face-to-face trainings of relevance to the rural water sector, including MOOCs, mainly in English, with some also in French. You can download it here (last updated in 2019). 

EMAS is a Mobile School for Water and Sanitation based in Bolivia, and run by Wolfgang Eloy Buchner. EMAS is also a whole technical and social concept of water and sanitation which includes manual drilling, rain water harvesting, solar water heaters, wind power, hydraulic rams, water treatment, small tanks and sinks, a variety of hand and foot pumps, and ferrocement water storage tanks.

Two of the best known are probably the EMAS Pump, a low cost direct action pump, and EMAS Drilling, a low-cost sludging and percussion method.

EMAS have produced a series of training video available online that show how to make and use the EMAS equipment:


The following videos are on the WEDC Youtube Channel and have been produced by the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) at Loughborough University, UK

Handpumps – An Overview: Part 1 of 6 – Introduction


Handpumps – An Overview: Part 2 of 6 – Suction pumps


Handpumps – An Overview: Part 3 of 6 – Direct action pumps


Handpumps – An Overview: Part 4a of 6 – The India Mk II


Handpumps – An Overview: Part 4b of 6 – The Afridev

Handpumps – An Overview: Part 5 of 6 – Progressive cavity; diaphragm hose; rope and washer pumps


Handpumps – An Overview: Part 6 of 6 – Summary



Operation and Maintenance of Handpumps playlist

Improving the quality and professionalism of manual drilling is critical to improved rural water supplies in many parts of the world. The videos below are training modules produced by EnterpriseWorks/VITA, Practica Foundation and UNICEF.

Courtesy of Jon Naugle, Relief International - EnterpriseWorks/VITA

Improving the quality and professionalism of manual drilling is critical to improved rural water supplies in many parts of the world. The videos below are training modules produced by Dr Peter Morgan, Aquamor, ZImbabwe

Mukombe tippy-tap hand washing device

"Alloy Can" tippy tap hand washing device

Courtesy of Dr Peter Morgan, Aquamor

The videos below demonstrate how to inspect a Zimbabwe 'B' Bush Pump to ensure that all the components are properly made, assembled and aligned.

by Dr Peter Morgan, Aquamor, ZImbabwe

Bush Pump Inspection - Pump Head Part 1

Bush Pump Inspection - Pump Head Part 2


Bush Pump Inspection - Rod Movement

Bush Pump Inspection - Down the hole components

Measuring groundwater level

Courtesy of Dr Peter Morgan, Aquamor

Related Resources

RWSN Draft Lifelong Learning Strategy (EN/FR/ES/PT) Projet de stratégie d'apprentissage tout au long de la vie du RWSN

RWSN is a global network of rural water supply professionals and organisations committed to improving their knowledge, competence and professionalism, to fulfil RWSN’s vision of sustainable rural water services for all. Both individuals and organisations participate in the network.
This strategy presents ways in which the network can continue to create and grow value in the coming 5-10 years.

Le RWSN est un réseau mondial de professionnels et d'organisations du secteur de l'approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural qui s'engagent à améliorer leurs connaissances, leurs compétences et leur professionnalisme, afin de concrétiser la vision du RWSN de services d'eau durables pour tous en milieu rural. Tant les individus que les organisations participent au réseau.
Cette stratégie présente les moyens par lesquels le réseau peut continuer à créer et à accroître sa valeur dans les 5 à 10 prochaines années.

La RWSN es una red mundial de profesionales y organizaciones de abastecimiento de agua en zonas rurales comprometidos con la mejora de sus conocimientos, competencia y profesionalidad, para cumplir la visión de la RWSN de unos servicios de agua rural sostenibles para todos. En la red participan tanto individuos como organizaciones.
Esta estrategia presenta las formas en que la red puede seguir creando y aumentando su valor en los próximos 5-10 años.

A RWSN é uma rede global de profissionais e organizações de abastecimento de água rural empenhados em melhorar seus conhecimentos, competência e profissionalismo, para cumprir a visão da RWSN de serviços de água rural sustentáveis para todos. Tanto indivíduos quanto organizações participam da rede.
Essa estratégia apresenta maneiras pelas quais a rede pode continuar a criar e aumentar o valor nos próximos 5 a 10 anos. | »

RWSN Member Organisations learning and networking event

The RWSN Secretariat organises regular learning and networking events dedicated to RWSN Member Organisations only, to enable them to exchange, learn from each other, and find out more about the services RWSN offers to its Member Organisations.

The following events have taken place so far:
- June 2022: on the benefits that RWSN offers to Member Organisations, and what Member Organisations would like to get out of their membership.
- March 2023: on financial innovations to improve the financial sustainability of rural water services, with presentations by 1001Fontaines, the Aquaya Institute, Green Empowerment and Water Compass.

Between 40 to 50 organisations participated in each series of events. Below are the recordings of the presentations and collaborative slides. | »


My book, I Tried to Save the World and Failed, reflects on a time and effort to find rural water solutions in Mexico, Malawi and Cambodia that could be used everywhere. 

The book closes with a set of lessons aimed at sustainability.  The lessons are not meant to be the final word.  It is hoped they will provoke discussion on how to go about achieving project sustainability.

Permission granted by author to distribute | »

From implementor to facilitator – Transition management of the Department of Rural Water Supply in Lesotho case studies of rural water supplies

Management of the transition phase of the Department of Rural Water Supply, away from an implementing towards a facilitating role. Organisational development, capacity building and launching of a sector wide approach (SWAp).

The case study on hand describes how the transition process was planned and implemented. It focuses on the phase of transition since 1993, even though many of the stakeholders have been involved for many decades. It describes the objectives and goals of the strategy, and takes a look at future developments. | »

SADC-GMI Short Course 1: Drilling Supervision (2018) 23 – 27 April 2018, Institute for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

The Drilling Supervision short course was conducted to participants from Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states. The training was conducted as part of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for professionals in the groundwater industry. In the modern professional ethics, the groundwater work falls under the hydrogeology/geohydrology profession. However in most of the developing countries, the hydrogeology or geohydrology professional is just starting to evolve and there is therefore limited number of specialized hydrogeologist/geohydrologist experts, thus the training did not exclude all other professionals who are involved at various levels in groundwater.

The course covered: Geology and Groundwater Occurrence; Understanding Basic Aspects of Groundwater; Principles of Borehole Supervision; On-site Supervision; Drilling Preparation; Drilling; Borehole Development and Completion; Field demonstration of pumping test; and Borehole profiling and collection of groundwater samples | »

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