The most important stories in rural water supply // Les histoires d’approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural les plus importants

Making water work for women – inspiring stories from around the world

The reality in much of the world today is that collecting water for the home is a job done by women – so gender issues are central to everything we do in rural water supply – self-supply, pump design, borehole siting, tariff collection, water resource management, business models or using ICT to improve service delivery.

In this week’s webinar we have brought together more inspiring stories from Nicaragua, India and the World Bank.  We are taking ‘gender’ from being a tokenistic tick-box to a living, vibrant, practical core of every rural water service.

Join the us next Tuesday 23 May – it an opportunity to have your practical and policy questions answered from world class experts.

 Did you miss Part 1? Don’t worry. You can watch and listen to the inspiring experiences from Burkina Faso, India, Ethiopia and Bangladesh on the RWSN video channel:


L’eau au service des femmes – des histoires inspirantes

La réalité dans beaucoup d’endroits dans le monde aujourd’hui est que l’approvisionnement en eau pour les besoins domestiques reste un travail porté par les femmes – donc les questions liées au genre sont au coeur de toutes les activités que nous entreprenons dans le secteur de l’eau rurale: auto-approvisionnement, conception des pompes, emplacement des forages, recouvrement des tariffs, gestion des ressources en eau, ou utiliser les TIC pour améliorer les services.

Le webinaire de la semaine permettra d’entendre des histoires intéressantes du Nicaragua, de l’Inde et de la Banque Mondiale. Nous souhaitons passer d’une compréhension de la notion de genre se bornant à cocher une case, pour mettre en avant les aspects vivants, pratiques et essentiels qui font partie de tous les services d’eau ruraux.

Joignez-vous à nous mardi prochain – ce sera l’occasion de poser vos questions sur la pratique et la politique à des experts du domaine.

Vous n’avez pas pu participer à la première partie de ce wébinaire? Vous pouvez écouter des expériences inspirantes du Burkina Faso, de l’Inde, de l’Ethiopie, et du Bangladesh sur la chaine viméo du RWSN:



Webinar 16.11.2016 / Webinar el día 16.11.2016 – “A tool for Monitoring the Scaling up of Water and Sanitation Technologies”

Texto en español más abajo

From the RWSN secretariat we herewith announce the latest webinar of our mini-series 2016, which will take place on 16.11.2016. The title of the event is “A tool for Monitoring the Scaling up of Water and Sanitation Technologies (TAF – Technology Applicability Framework)” and it will focus on the use of the TAF, which has been presented and discussed previously in this Dgroup. The session will take place in English (2-3 PM Central European Time, please check your local time here) and in Spanish (4-5 PM Central European Time, please check your local time here). We are happy to announce the two presenters and the titles of their presentations:

  • Joshua Briemberg, WaterAid, Nicaragua: TAF as a participative planning and monitoring tool
  • Younes Hassib, GIZ, Germany: Scaling up sanitation solutions in Afghanistan

After the two presentations, you will have the chance to ask questions and participate in the on-line Q&A session and discussion around this topic.

Please use this link in order to register for the sessions.

Recordings and presentations of previous sessions of this mini-series of webinars are available for download and viewing here.

Continue reading “Webinar 16.11.2016 / Webinar el día 16.11.2016 – “A tool for Monitoring the Scaling up of Water and Sanitation Technologies””

Rural water supply for all, forever: Can Nicaragua become an example?

by H. Holtslag  J. de Jongh

Of the 780 million people worldwide without an improved water source some 80% live in rural areas. In sub-Saharan countries some 35% of the rural water points are not functioning. A country with a remarkable and sustainable increase in rural water supply is Nicaragua. This country has 6 million people of which some 43% live in rural areas. With development aid an innovative low cost hand pump was introduced in 1987.  By 1995 this pump became an integral part of rural water programmes of NGOs and government agencies. Rural water supply coverage between 1987 and 1995 doubled from approximately 27.5% to 54.8%. Of this  27.3%, rope pumps account for 23.6% (85% of the total increase). *

Now, 25 years later the situation is:

  1. Over 70.000 rope pumps on boreholes and hand dug wells. Cost /pump 70-150 US$
  2. Besides handpowered also pedal, horse, engine and wind powered models developed
  3. Some 10 workshops produce the pumps and another 8 outlets sell the pump
  4. 10 to 20% of the pumps are used for communal supply, the rest for self supply
  5. Even pumps that are given away in general remain working
  6. The scaling up is also thanks to the government who made it a national standard pump
  7. Most pumps are funded by Government or NGOs, some 30% is paid by private families
  8. Over 90% of the all pumps are working (Evaluation of IRC) ** This high % is explained by its repairability. (Simplicity, Low cost, decentralised production, spares available )
  9. The maintenance consist of replacement of the rope and pistons and oiling bushings
  10. The shift from imported piston pumps like Indian Mark 2 to locally produced rope pumps increased the rural water supply 3 x faster than countries without the ropepump
  11. The number of imported piston pumps has reduced to less than 2% of all hand pumps
  12. The rope pump is now by far the most used technology for rural water supply
  13. In some areas families now get piped systems or get electricity and buy an electric pump but most families will still use the rope pump for cattle watering or irrigation
  14. A market for 200.000 more handpumps (study Water & Sanitation Program, Worldbank)
  15. Even 8.000 $ boreholes of 70 meters deep are equipped with 140 $ rope pumps!
  16. All this goes on since 1998 without any NGO or external advisors involved
  17. A study of effects of water for rural families (5015 families studied) concluded

– a well increases incomes of small farmers with 30%

– a rope pump on that well increases again average incomes with $220/year **

The total investment in these pumps was USD1 million in training etc and some USD8million in pumps. The result is an increase of the GNP of USD100 million since 1990 due to family rope pumps.  There is much to improve on both pump quality and installation and some workshops make bad pumps but the pumps work and generate income for producers and users. The development in the rural area is notable and rope pumps are a step on the water ladder.

Nicaragua is an example that, where water levels are less than 50 meters and low cost wells can be made,  the rural water supply can increase drastically at investment costs of 5 to 15US$/capita.   What is possible in Nicaragua seems possible in many other countries.


* Alberts, H. 2004 The rope pump: An example of technology transfer. Waterlines 22(3), 22–25.

* Alberts. H.,Zee. J van der (No date). A multi sectoral approach to sustainable rural water supply in Nicaragua: The role of the rope handpump. Available on

** IRC 1995 Nicaraguan experiences with rope pump.

*** Zee. J.v.d Field study involving 5025 families in Nicaragua, CESADE/ICCO

Publication “Smart Water Solutions” of Netherlands Water Partnership. Other booklets in the Smart serie on

Sanitation, Water harvesting Hygiene, Finance and Disinfection , or