Loughborough University
Holtstag_H_-_133.pdf (272.7 kB)

Smart technologies: new options to reduce costs of rural water supply

Download (272.7 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2018-02-12, 15:08 authored by Henk Holtslag, Walter Mgina
Regarding water, some 84% of the un served live in rural areas (UNICEF 2008). To improve this situation the number of decentralised supply systems such as wells and hand pumps need to increase. With technologies normally chosen progress with increasing coverage is slow but by applying innovative lowcost water technologies, so called Smart tecs, access to more and safe water, especially in rural areas, could drastically increase. Recent innovations have reduced the cost of water technologies for wells, boreholes, pumps, storage, recharge, irrigation, and water treatment by 3070% as compared to conventional options and have increased sustainability. One example is the Rope pump of which now some 80.000 are installed worldwide and used by some 3 million people. The introduction of this pump in Nicaragua started with 1 million dollars development aid, through which the yearly GNP of Nicaragua increased by 10 million dollars. The shift from piston pumps to rope pumps doubled rural water supply in less than 10 years, 3 times faster than countries with conventional handoperated piston pumps. Surveys indicate that families that purchase a $70 Rope pump increase their annual income by $220. The large scale dissemination of new smallscale technologies, has a huge potential to improve rural water supply, increase food security and reduce rural poverty. (Currency units all in US dollars)



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

Published in

WEDC Conference


HOLTSLAG, H. and MGINA, W., 2009. Smart technologies: new options to reduce costs of rural water supply. IN: Shaw, R.J. (ed). Water, sanitation and hygiene - Sustainable development and multisectoral approaches: Proceedings of the 34th WEDC International Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 18-22 May 2009, 5p.p.


© 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: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This is a conference paper.

Other identifier



  • en

Usage metrics

    WEDC 34th International Conference


    No categories selected