Spring-fed Gravity Flow Scheme
Capturing spring water and transporting it, usually by gravity in pipes, to water users, is a very common form of rural water supply around the world - particularly in hilly and mountaineous regions and islands. The technology is relatively simple and by using the energy of gravity, there is generally no need for pumps or other forms of energy input. The biggest cost tends to be the initial construction of the tanks and pipes, however, over time these will degrade and need repair and eventual replacement.
Despite its widespread use, RWSN does not explicitly include gravity spring-fed schemes in the thematic work - but it is not excluded at all. What we are really missing is a champion - a person or organisation that is really passionate about this form of rural water supply and is would like to develop a strong community of practice to share experiences and ideas. If this is of interest, then please get in touch.
On this website, you will find some great manuals and resources that can help you design, build and maintain a gravity scheme
Spring Catchment Manuals on Drinking Water Supply. Volume 4:
Water safety plan A field guide to improving drinking-water safety in small communities
Water Safety Planning for Small Communities Step-by-step risk management guidance for drinking-water supplies in small communities
Guidelines to Planning Sustainable Water Projects and Selecting Appropriate Technologies Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group
Water Catchment Protection Handbook 1. Learning and Experience Sharing Series
Pump-fed piped supplies
For larger villages and small towns, a mechanised pump is a common option, usually taking from a borehole, a lake or a river. In most cases the water will need to be treated and pumped up to header storage tank to ensure that the pressure head and flow rates through the pipe network are consistant. These schemes are much more expensive and complex than point water sources, but can deliver a high level of service - either through public stand pipes or domestic household connections.
RWSN has looked at some of the management issues around these schemes in the 2013 WSP-RWSN webinar series: "Professionalising Rural and Small Town Water Supply Management."
Other useful resources on this website:
Guidebook for the implementation of decentralised water supply systems in Moldova
Structuring Private-Sector Participation (PSP) Contracts for Small Scale Water Projects
Project Implementation Manual Community Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Ghana
“What is the current wisdom on the best way to manage cash reserves and to manage the risk of big CapManEx costs in the future?” RWSN Discussion Synthesis
Regulating and Monitoring the Technical & Financial Performance of Small Systems/Suivi technique & financier et régulation
Small town water services Trends, challenges and models
Community Management of Water Services Approaches, Innovations from Lango & Rwenzori regions, Uganda
Service Cooperatives - Solutions for Rural Water Supply in Ukraine
Community Water Supply in Switzerland what can we learn from a century of successful operation?
Multi-Village Pooling Project in Indonesia Handbook for Community-Based Water Supply Organizations
Technologies applied for drinking water treatment in rural communities