- Wastewater treatment
- Household sanitation
- Community-managed toilets
- Urban pit waste management
- Borehole drilling rig poster
- Rainwater harvesting jar poster
- Gravity flow water system poster
- The rope pump
- Waterpoint mapping poster
- Handpumps poster
- Water kiosks poster
- The gulper poster
- Ventilation improved pit (VIP) latrine poster
- The composting latrine
- Accessible latrine poster
- School toilets poster
- Handy pods poster
- Technology notes
- Sanitation approaches
Which technologies help us make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere?
Here is a selection of some of the technologies we and our partners use to reach the poorest and most marginalised people with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.
We offer a technical enquiry service run by engineering specialists. Before contacting them, please read our technical briefs and frequently asked questions below, as they may contain the information you are looking for.
We use technologies that are low cost, are appropriate to the local area and can be easily maintained by the communities who use them.
Gravity-fed schemesA gravity-fed supply from a small upland river, stream or spring uses the force of gravity to transport water by pipework to tapstands near homes, reducing the work involved in carrying water.
Hand-dug wellsThe traditional method of obtaining groundwater in rural areas of the developing world, and still the most common.
Hand pumpsIf water to be raised from a well or borehole is for people to drink, it is preferable to install a hand pump.
Protection of spring sourcesA spring source can be used either to supply a gravity scheme or provide a single outlet, running continuously.
Rainwater harvestingWhere there is no surface water, or where groundwater is deep or inaccessible, the most appropriate alternative is often the collection of rainwater.
We use the most appropriate, affordable and sustainable solution to the local sanitation situation.
Sanitation and hygiene approachesThere are different ways to develop and implement a sanitation or hygiene promotion programme, and elements of each approach can be combined to suit a particular context.
Technology posters – water
Technology posters – sanitation
1. What are the different technologies that WaterAid uses?
Rural water technologies include protected hand-dug wells, boreholes, tube wells, rainwater harvesting schemes, protected springs, gravity-flow schemes, sand dams and infiltration galleries.
Where pumping is required, we usually support the installation of hand pumps. Electrical, diesel and solar pumps are sometimes used where communities are able to cover operation and maintenance costs and where spare parts can be found locally.
In urban areas, we work with the official water providers to help improve their supply network and keep it affordable to the poorer residents.
Examples of sanitation technologies include simple pit toilets, ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets, dual pit toilets, composting toilets, pour-flush toilets and communal toilets with a septic tank. Communities and families are trained in all aspects of the correct usage and maintenance of toilets. We consider emptying and transport systems, which are of particular importance in high-density settlements.
With all technologies, we evaluate each approach with the first aim of long-term sustainability. Each is evaluated on the basis of:
- Availability of technology and its materials and spare parts in local markets
- Match to people’s actual needs
- Ability to deliver cost-effective, long-term supplies without complex maintenance, expensive components or expensive chemicals
- Demand from local re-sellers and local water and sanitation agencies
These lists are not exhaustive and we are supportive of innovation at the local level and efforts to develop new sustainable technologies.
2. Why do you use the technologies you do?
We focus on long-term sustainable development so use technologies and approaches that local communities and institutions can support beyond our term of intervention.
The technologies we use need to be appropriate to local financial and geographical conditions and within the technical capacity of the benefitting community to operate and maintain.
We aim to use technologies that include locally sourced materials and spare parts that can be purchased and transported easily.
We also work closely with local and national governments, who may have their own criteria for technology choices.
3. I have invented a new technology or product that I think would benefit WaterAid. What should I do?
We are always interested to hear about innovative technologies and approaches. We are particularly supportive of locally led innovation within the communities where we work. They can support our local partners to develop technical solutions to water, sanitation and hygiene related problems.
We do, however, have limited financial resources, and, as such, are not in a position to pilot new inventions developed outside our programme work. If there is a sufficient body of data concerning the performance, cost, sustainability and appropriateness of a particular technology, and it fills a clear gap in the provision of equipment or services, we may consider using it.
But, if it seems to us that a technology is not appropriate for work with the poorest people, we will not take it up. Reasons for this may include cost, availability of spare parts, skills to operate and maintain it, and suitability for use in specific geographical conditions.
If you have developed a new water or sanitation technology, or have a new product that has been reviewed against the above criteria and would like further advice, please contact our Technical Advisors at [email protected]