Handpumps remain important when piped networks fail
Updated - Saturday 01 December 2012
Boreholes with handpumps continue to play a significant role as a main source and even in communities with piped networks are used as alternatives when piped networks fail. However, they failed to supply a basic level of service to more than 36% of users in any of the research countries.
In the African countries boreholes often failed to deliver the basic quantity of 20 litres per person per day because of problems with accessibility, rather than because of system “failure”. People do not use the service for reasons of cost, distance, crowding, or not liking the taste. Lack of water quality testing was also a reason for service levels being low. In Andhra Pradesh, the main problem is frequent breakdowns and source failure.
Most piped schemes fail to provide a basic service to more than 50% of the population, with two exceptions being intermediate sized single town pipe networks in Ghana and small single town pipe networks in Burkina Faso.
In Andhra Pradesh, 37%-85% of people in research villages chose to use a source other than the piped scheme, partly due to the chronic unreliability of much of the formal piped infrastructure. Single town piped networks provided a lower percentage of users with a basic level of service compared with borehole and handpump service models despite having much higher recurrent expenditure.