Piped Water Systems

Piped Water Systems
ENTRY DATE: 03 May 2015| LAST UPDATE: 03 May 2015
Categories: Water Resources | Water supply measures
Technological Maturity: Applicable immediately
Technology Owners:
  • Government
  • Communities
  • Banks e,g World Bank
  • Private organisations
  • NGOs e.g Practical Action, Bangladesh and PRACTICA foundation, The Netherlands, JICA/AAN, UNICEF, UST and WaterAid
Needs Addressed

Supply of fresh water for domestic use

Adaptation Effects

Supplies a safe water source when traditionally used sources are contaminated e.g. arsenic contamination in well water, salinity in water ponds, and where groundwater is over-extracted

Overview and Features

Piped water systems supply a source of fresh water to households from a centralised safe water source for domestic use. These systems can be small or large scale, sourcing water from surface, but more often groundwater sources. Piped water systems treat water from the primary source to remove arsenic and other contaminants, and chlorinate water, making it safe for domestic use. 

  • Costs vary dependent on the location and size of the systems
  • E.g. In Bangladesh, costs for small-scale systems are between USD 3000-200,000.
  • Costs for operation and management of systems are between USD 100-130 per month
Energy Source

Energy for operation

Ease of Maintenance

Operation and maintenance is most effective if conducted by local communities, with monitoring from NGOs

Technology Performance
  • Delivery of water in small scale systems is sometimes limited e.g. in Bangladesh and therefore users are required to rely on other sources and storage options
  • Strong user preference for piped systems has been recognised, regardless of income levels
Considerations (technology transfer criteria, challenges, etc.)
  • Financial schemes contributed to by users are required to aid implementation of piped water systems
  • Sustainability relies upon effective local management of the systems
  • Stakeholders should include government, private sector, NGOs and communities and all should be involved with planning processes
Co-benefits, Suitability for Developing Countries
  • Provides an opening for private sector investment to supply clean water 
  • Small systems can be community managed and operated, larger systems may require a more professional management committee including a manager, an accountant and technicians
  • This is a scalable solution, that overcomes the limitations of deep tube wells and rainwater harvesting
  • Subsides can contribute to the feasibility of implementing the system within poor communities
  • Systems can be expanded after initial establishment
Information Resources

Astra, Bangladesh. N.d. Technology Database. Available from: http://astradst.info/Tool/Technologies [19 January 2014]

Smet, Jo; van Wijk, Christine (eds.) (2002). Small Community Water Supplies: Technology, People and Partnership. Delft, the Netherlands. IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. (Technical paper Series 40). Available from: http://www.ircwash.org/sites/default/files/Smet-2002-Small_TP40.pdf [19 January 2015]

World Bank. 2010. Learning's from Bangladesh : experience in private provision of rural piped water. Water and Sanitation Program : field note. Washington, DC: World Bank. Available from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2010/12/16795863/learnings-bangladesh-experience-private-provision-rural-piped-water [19 January 2015]