RWSN Topic

Handpump manufacture.  Photo: Karl Erpf

RWSN has maintained international standards for the public domain handpumps since 1992 and provided extensive technical support to many national governments, NGOs and the private sector to enable decisions to be made regarding handpump standardisation, raise manufacturing standards and build skills and systems to improve handpump operation and maintenance.




If you have a limited internet connection, then we have a CD-ROM with all the handpump specifications and manuals - contact the Secretariat for details.



The Afridev Pump is a conventional lever action handpump. It is designed for heavy-duty use, serving communities of up to 300 persons. The maximum recommended lift is 45 m. The Afridev Pump is a public domain pump defined by RWSN specifications. The Afridev Pump is fully corrosion resistant, easy to install and has excellent potential for community-based maintenance.


Afridev with Bottom Support

The Afridev Pump with a Bottom Support System (BSS) is a technology that uses a reinforced version of the Afridev Pump together with a Support from the end of the borehole (BSS). It is designed for water lifting in low water table areas and the maximal lift recommended is 80 m. The Afridev Pump with BSS is a public domain pump defined by RWSN specifications. The Afridev Pump with BSS is fully corrosion resistant, relatively easy to install by pump mechanics and can be maintained by the communities.


Bush Pump

The Bush Pump is a robust conventional lever action handpump, developed and standardised in Zimbabwe (SAZ 881:2004). It is designed for heavy-duty use, serving communities of 300 persons. Three different cylinders are available, the smallest one extend the range to a maximum recommended lift of 80 m. The Bush Pump is not corrosion resistant. It requires special skills for installation as well as for the maintenance; it is not a VLOM pump.

Peter Morgan has produced a set of Inspection training videos.



The BluePump is a lever-action reciprocating handpump that is intended to be a more rugged alternative or replacement for an Afridev or India Mark II/III. It can reportedly pump from a deep as 100m. Around 500 BluePumps are currently in operation.

The BluePump was developed by Fairwater Foundation (Netherlands) and is manufactured by Boode B.V. (Netherlands) and is availale in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gambia, South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania.


Canzee Pump

A pump for drinking water and limited use for irrigating gardens.
The Canzee pump is a direct action pump initially developed in New Zealand. It uses a simple pumping principle. It consists of two pipes, one slightly larger than the other. At the bottom of each pipe is a non-return valve. The pumping movement raises and lowers the inner pipe. The outer pipe remains still. When the inner pipe is raised it lifts the water contained within it. The atmospheric pres-sure pushes more water into the outer pipe. Each stroke lifts the water in the inner pipe to the top until it runs out through the spout. The pump is self-priming. A thin film of water between the two pipes ensures they do not touch: the pump lubricates itself. The Canzee pump is designed as family pump for serving user groups of about 100 to 150 people. It can be used for irrigation of family gardens. Like all direct action pump the operation is not ergonomically favourable, therefore prolonged pumping is not possible.


Related Resources

What’s Working, Where, and for How Long

A 2016 Water Point Update to the RWSN (2009) statistics

• An average of 78% of water points are functional across the 11 countries analyzed.

• The high failure rates early after installation are troubling: almost 15% after one year and 25% of water points are non-functional by their fourth year after installation. This indicates widespread problems with poor quality water point installation, due to a range of problems that may include professionalism and skills around contracts, construction and supervision; borehole siting; lack of quality control of hardware; or lack of post-construction monitoring and problem resolution.

• Handpumps are often singled out as technology that fails, but analysis of other water point types show similar functionality levels, and that tens of thousands of handpumps are providing a service

This poster was peer-reviewed and presented at the 7th RWSN Forum in Abidjan, Cote'Ivoire 2016.

It replaces "Handpump Data 2009 Selected Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa" (2009) | more information »

Proceedings of the 7th RWSN Forum

29 Nov - 2 Dec 2016, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

The 2016 Rural Water Supply Network Forum in Abidjan was the first global gathering to consider the practical challenge of how everyone worldwide can get access to safe, affordable water by 2030. It was also the first RWSN Forum to take place in a francophone country, in the 25 years since the creation of the network.
The Forum gathered 467 rural water sector practitioners from over 300 organisations from 64 countries in Africa, Asia, Americas, and Europe, in a bilingual (English/French) four day event. It was opened by the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr Daniel Kaplan Duncan. We were joined by HE State Minster James Dengchol Tot, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia, as well as a delegation from AMCOW.

This Forum proceedings compiles all peer-reviewed materials. Separate downloads and links to the films can be found at: | more information »

An Evaluation of the BluePump in Kenya and Gambia

This report presents the results of an evaluation of the Fairwater BluePump, an emerging rural water supply technology in sub-Saharan Africa. Claims about the BluePump’s durability and minimal maintenance requirements have provoked significant interest within the rural water sector. This evaluation set out to assess the suitability of the BluePump as a rural water supply technology, taking into account its operational performance, the experiences of water users, the views of local stakeholders, and the broader contextual factors that impinge upon its sustainability. | more information »

Field Study Investigating the Potential of Water Quality

Testing to Predict Corrosion in Boreholes in Northern Uganda

Water sources are often abandoned by communities for two reasons: (1) the aesthetics of water quality that affects user acceptability and (2) the breakdown of pump parts that prohibits use of the borehole. Both can be related to the aggressiveness of water and both are important. Electroconductivity and pH and indices can indicate the potential of galvanic corrosion and electrochemical corrosion, respectively. Electrochemical corrosion contributes most to the high levels of iron from boreholes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of pH strips in predicting groundwater pH and aggressiveness, compare the reliability of three different pH test strips to a Hanna pH probe, determine the origin of iron measured in boreholes, and make relevant recommendations. | more information »

Supply Chains for Rural Water Supply in Uganda

HTN Report

The objective of this study is to review the status of supply chains for spare parts with the goal to identify appropriate interventions that will improve availability of spare parts. Supply of equipment cannot be de-linked from supply of spare parts therefore the study looks into the supply of equipment as well. | more information »

Evaluation of Hand Augered Well Technologies’ Capacity to Improve Access to Water in Coastal Ngöbe Communities in Panama

MSc thesis submitted to University of South Florida 2014

In Panama, the indigenous Ngöbe people in the ÑöKribo coastal area are a group disproportionately affected by a lack of improved access to drinking water and challenges to the feasibility of piped gravity fed water systems that typically serve the rest of the country. An NGO aiming to ameliorate this situation introduced two improved groundwater supply technologies to the region: bailers and EMAS hand pumps. This study assesses the comparative performance of these systems while evaluating the respective performances of existing water sources, using the wide variety of quantitative and qualitative data obtained.

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-RWSN publication and endorsement by RWSN or any of its member organisations should not be inferred. | more information »

Elements of Sustainable Solar Water Pumping System Design

Synthesis and presentations from 2015 WEDC Conference Workshop

Technological advances over the past decade have made solar water pumping a viable option for potable water service delivery in rural settings. Solar pumping is an especially attractive alternative when poor groundwater quality or high population density and growth limit the applicability of boreholes fitted with handpumps. However, globally-accessible resources that specifically speak to the various technological, financial, social, environmental, institutional, and operational elements of sustainable solar pumping designs are limited. This workshop provides participants with an opportunity to explore various aspects of holistic design of solar pumping systems through guided group discussion. | more information »

Security systems for Hand Pumps in rural areas of Malawi

Description of technical solutions to protect Afridev hand pumps from robberies and vandalism developed by Inter Aide and its local partner BASEDA in Malawi. | more information »

Why wells should only be dug in a specific period of the year?

Understanding one of the main causes of wells’ drying in Sierra Leone, through an analysis of a water table movements.

A survey conducted by Inter Aide in 2010-2011 in 3 districts of Sierra Leone has highlighted that among 2028 hand-dug wells visited, 45% of them were not delivering water permanently all year long. | more information »

A comparative study between “Rope pumps” and conventional piston pumps on water quality and other sustainability parameters

Appropriate technologies for rural water supply

In Tanzania there now are some 5000 Rope pumps both for small communities and Households. To compare Rope pumps with piston pumps like Afridev and Nira pumps regarding water quality, cost per capita and other aspects, the organisation ACRA effected a Comparative study. Some conclusions of the study are:
- Rural communities do not prefer piston pumps above Rope pump
-The water quality of tested Rope pumps is lower than Piston pumps but this is mainly due to bad installation. If installed right there is not much difference in water quality.

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-RWSN publication and endorsement by RWSN or any of its member organisations should not be inferred. | more information »