By Vincent Casey, Technical Support Manager, and Richard Carter. (originally posted on the WaterAid website)
From the Catalyst Project: “A hidden crisis? Strengthening the evidence base on the sustainability of rural groundwater services”
“Every year, over 30,000 boreholes fitted with handpumps are installed in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. All will break down at some point. Some will be repaired and return to service. Others will not be fixed and will fall out of use. All will eventually need to be replaced.
Up to a third of the waterpoints in Sub-Saharan Africa are out of service at any given time, according to estimates by the Rural Water Supply Network. This doesn’t mean that they can’t repaired, just that they were out of use when surveyed. Breakdown and repair are normal for any facilities, but if they are not repaired, this has a big impact on users and becomes problematic.
Boreholes and handpumps stop working for a variety of different reasons. Some issues can be resolved quickly and easily but others will condemn a water point to a possible untimely demise. Causes of failure can be grouped into three overall categories.