Skinner.pdf (31.63 kB)
Download file

Handpump standardisation

Download (31.63 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 15:09 by Brian H. Skinner
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.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

Published in

WEDC Conference


SKINNER, B.H., 1996. Handpump standardisation. IN: Pickford, J. et al. (eds). Reaching the unreached - Challenges for the 21st century: Proceedings of the 22nd WEDC International Conference, New Delhi, India, 9-13 September 1996, pp.208-211.


© WEDC, Loughborough University


VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This is a conference paper.

Other identifier




Usage metrics