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The cost of handpump water supply services in the Sahel

Published on: 19/04/2013

Component costs and drivers are assessed in a new research paper.

A new IRC- Triple-S/GLOWS/WA-WASH research paper analyses the absolute and relative value of each cost component of a water service (capital investment, operating costs, rehabilitation cost, support costs) and looks into each component cost drivers.

The effective expenditures on 842 handpumps composing 192 rural water services are compared to the national guidelines available in Burkina Faso. Two gaps are identified: post-construction expenditures don’t match with national guidelines (operating costs and rehabilitation being 50% and 150% higher than planned) and the highest recurrent cost, direct support, is missing as a cost category in national guidelines.

The under-estimation of recurrent expenditure undermines the assumptions made in the sector in Burkina Faso on the appropriate scale to manage water services that last.

Functionality of handumps is decreasing because the high maintenance of handpumps is financially unviable at village scale as established by the regulations. Whatever age, type of pump, management model and location, a handump requires higher capital maintenance than expected, that is one intervention every 3 years, each costing an average of FCFA 150,000 or US$300 which equals 2 years of the service provider theoretical turnover per handpump.

A change in the scale of high maintenance financing could improve serviceability of handpumps with unchanged water tariff. The paper is in French and includes an executive summary in English (below):

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