Background materials

WASHTech was not born in a conceptual void. It followed previous literature and practice trails and emerged at the junction of various influences. Some of the key resources that have led to develop WASHTech are featured below. We hope that in the process this project will evolve together with other resources that see the light and we will feature these here too. For a more comprehensive list of resources visit or search in the IRC WASH Library.


Ali, M., Sprung, E. and Faal, J. (2008). Technology choices in water supply and sanitation : report on collaborative research, learning and networking between Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, RiPPLE ; Rugby, UK, Practical Action Consulting. Download full report

Baumann, E.; Montangero, A.; Sutton, S. and Erpf. K. (2010). WASH technology information packages : for UNICEF WASH programme and supply personnel. Copenhagen, Denmark, UNICEF. Download full package.

Brikke, F. and Bredero, M. (2003). Linking technology choice with operation and maintenance in the context of community water supply and sanitation : a reference document for planners and project staff. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization (WHO). Download full publication.

Carter, R. and Byers, M. (2006). Landscaping of technologies : an output of the project “Landscaping and Review of Approaches and Technologies for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Opportunities for Action”. Cranfield University, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre (Delft) and Aguaconsult. Download full report

University of Glasgow and Oxfam GB (2011). High-science in low-tech emergency settings: a foreseeable horizon or height of folly : ELHRA Small Grant Project final report. Download full report

Visscher, J.T. (2006). Facilitating community water supply : from transferring filtration technology to multi-stakeholder learning. (Technical paper series / IRC; no. 46-E). Delft, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. Download full report

Web sites


This open water and sanitation resource, managed by, provides fact sheets on appropriate technologies and approaches, including an Appropriate Technology checklist. Akvopedia now contains 384 articles in English.

Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN)

A global knowledge network for rural water supply technologies and approaches managed by the SKAT Foundation. RWSN focuses on sub-Saharan Africa and four main themes: Cost-effective boreholes (CEB), Sustainable rural water supplies (SRWS), Self supply (SS), and Handpump technologies (HT). The web site provides on-line documents (field notes, reports and manuals) and links on the each of the four themes, as well as a newsletter. The newsletter and selected documents are also available in French.

Operation & Maintenance Network

The O&M Network web site is intended for water and sanitation sector professionals and other parties with responsibility for O&M practices in developing countries. Registration (free) is required to access and contribute to the web site’s toolbox containing reference tools (manuals, guidelines, checklists) and case studies. Founded by the World Health Organization (WHO), the O&M Network is coordinated by the National Institute of Public Health of Japan while the International Water Association (IWA) manages the secretariat.

Enabling Technologies for Handwashing with Soap

Maintained by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), this web page provides an online reference, including a searchable database, on enabling technologies for handwashing with soap for programme managers.

WaterAid Technology Notes

Provides outlines of the technologies used by WaterAid on long-term development projects in Africa and Asia, and shows alternatives which might be appropriate in different circumstances. [date of publishing unknown]
Topics include: considerations before design; hygiene education; water resource development; gravity schemes; hand dug wells; tubewells and boreholes; hand pumps; spring protection; rainwater harvesting; subsurface dams; sanitation; disinfection; treatment of water.

WELL Technical Briefs

The Technical Briefs are prepared by Rod Shaw, Design and Production Editor of WEDC publications, in association with leading authors in the field, each short brief concludes with useful sources of further information. Topics include: hand pumps; wells; desalination; emergency sanitation; latrine pits; on plot sanitation; wastewater treatment.

Practical Action – Water and Sanitation

Provides technical briefs, guides and publications on improved toilets, dams, irrigation techniques, health and hygiene education, water distillation, and rainwater harvesting.


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