2018-02-12T15:09:25Z (GMT) by
One cost-effective technology which has an important role in ‘reaching the unreached’ with potable water is the use of handpumps on boreholes and hand-dug wells. Unfortunately handpump programmes have often not shown themselves to be sustainable. This failure has often resulted because reliance has been placed on costly centralised maintenance systems which have not been affordable. However as Fonseka and Baumann (1994) report from experience in west Africa, even where community management of maintenance is practised, often 3-5 years after a project ends only 60-70 per cent of handpumps are operational, usually because preventive maintenance has not being carried out. From their study in Ghana the same authors conclude that the most determining factor for the cost of maintaining handpumps is not the organisational structure (i.e. whether it is centralised or community based) but is the number of pumps covered by the maintenance system. When a country uses a wide variety of handpumps the number of pumps of any one type is relatively small. In such countries, standardisation on the use of just one or two types of handpumps is a necessary step to increase the number of pumps of a particular type to a level at which a sustainable maintenance structure is possible. In this paper I will consider various aspects relating to the standardisation of handpumps.