Ensuring the quality of boreholes and pumps for rural water supplies

In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 200 million people (about one in five of the population) rely on a handpump as their main source of drinking water, using about 700,000 handpumps. While the popularity of other technologies is growing, handpumps are likely to remain important in the region for decades to come, particularly in areas that are remote or with low population density. Unfortunately, many handpump services perform poorly or fail prematurely due to technical or installation defects with the borehole or the pump, as well as weaknesses with operation and maintenance or financial constraints.

But many handpump sources are failing prematurely – most likely due to a technical, or installation problem with the borehole or pump. Rapid handpump corrosion is one cause of premature failure, as are faulty components, or low-quality boreholes. A broken, or failed handpump or borehole means that people have to revert to distant, or contaminated sources of drinking water.

Stop the Rot is an RWSN initiative which strives to raise the quality of handpumps for rural water supplies and mitigate rapid handpump corrosion. Since commencing in late October 2020, the initiative has brought stakeholders together with an interest in taking action to address these issues. The Stop the Rot Action Group meets 3 to 4 times per year (online). 

This webpage consolidates the fliers, reports and event recordings of Stop the Rot as well as related research publications to date. If you have specific questions, would like to find out more about the action group, or contribute to Stop the Rot, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




2022 – Stop the Rot Trilogy

Stop the Rot Report I: Handpump reliance, functionality and technical failure by Danert, K

Stop the Rot Report II: Rapid corrosion of handpumps by Danert, K.

Stop the Rot:  Report III: Handpump standards, quality and supply chains with Zambia case study by Danert, K

All three trilogy reports are also available together in French and English

Country case studies

Stop the Rot: Learning from handpump rehabilitation – A short case study from Zambia by Danert, K. and Smulders, J. (2022)

Stop the Rot: Overview of handpump corrosion and maintenance challenges for a sustainable drinking water supply for rural populations in Cameroon by Linjouom Nchoutpouen A. A. (2023)

History of the Rapid Handpump Corrosion Problem in Zambia and Potential Next Steps by Nkhosi. J and Danert, K. (2023)

Stop the Rot:  Documentation of Experiences and Lessons Learnt in the prevention of Rapid Handpump Corrosion in Uganda by Paul Bisoborwa, Erisa Kyeyune, Robert Mutiibwa and Loretta Nakayima (in press)

Country Action

2023 - Stop the Rot @ ZAWAFE 2023, Lusaka, Zambia: Report of Focussed Session





Videos and Recordings


Related published research

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