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Unsubsidised self-supply in eastern Madagascar 

Michael F. MacCarthy 
Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA; 
Jonathan E. Annis 
WASHplus, CARE International, Washington, DC, USA; 
James R. Mihelcic 
Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA;

ABSTRACT: Self-supply is widely reported across various contexts, filling gaps left by other forms of water supply provision. This study assesses mature and unsubsidised Self-supply markets in an urban context in Madagascar. Locally manufactured drilling and pumping technologies are widely provided by the local private sector, enabling households to access shallow groundwater. The market for Pitcher Pump systems (suction pumps fitted onto hand-driven boreholes) has developed over several decades, reaching a level of maturity and scale. In the eastern port city of Tamatave, 9000 of these systems are estimated to be in use and Self-supply constitutes a primary domestic water source for the majority of the city’s 280,000 inhabitants. The market is supplied by more than 50 small businesses that manufacture and install the systems at lower cost (US$35-100) than a connection to the piped water supply system. Mixed methods are used to assess the performance of the Pitcher Pump system and the characteristics of the market. Discussion includes a description of the manufacturing process and sales network that supply Pitcher Pump systems, environmental health concerns related to water quality, pump performance, and system management. In a context where urban piped water supplies are unlikely to be accessible to all anytime soon, recommendations are made for further research and potential technology developments to improve the performance of Self-supply.

KEYWORDS: Low-cost technologies, sub-Saharan Africa, handpump, manual drilling, groundwater, lead (Pb), water supply, private sector