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Difficulties in the scaling-up of decentralized technologiesin drinking water, sanitation and small scale irrigation in rural areas of developing countries.

by Wolfgang Buchner


Author’s Note

These observations are based on 25 years of experience working in developing nationsprimarily in Bolivia but also in much of the rest of South America, Central America, Africa and Asia. The purpose of this document is to explain the failures of the modern water system in rural communities and identify the difficulties of the large scale application of decentralized household water systems based on appropriate technologies.


Available Versions: [German], [English] and [Spanish]

Household Water Supply Technologies for Increasing Access to Domestic Water Supplies in Rural Bolivia

6th Rural Water Supply Network Forum 2011 Uganda

Authors: Michael F. MacCarthy, James W. Buckingham, and James R. Mihelcic


EMAS household water technologies have been developed in Bolivia, South America over the past three decades, and consist primarily of manual water pumps made from materials commonly available in developing countries, hybrid percussion-jetting manual drilling techniques, and rainwater harvesting systems that often use underground storage tanks. This research is believed to be the first independent field assessment that considers EMAS manual water supply technologies as well as users' perceptions of these systems and technicians' experiences with system implementation in Bolivia. Research methods consist of semi-structured interviews with technicians and other stakeholders involved in implementation of EMAS technologies, combined with household visits that include surveying and observation/inspection. Results of the investigation show use of EMAS drilling techniques to be widespread in parts of Bolivia, and prove the EMAS Pump to be an effective, low-cost/maintenance household pump.


Complete Version [English]