Water Supply Sources & Outlets

1. Piped water

Piped water: Water supplied through a water distribution network. (Source: MajiData).

2. Water kiosk (properly and poorly designed)

Water Kiosk: A structure where everybody can buy water from an operator. A water kiosk can be closed (like a small shop) or open.

  • A properly designed and constructed water kiosk is a kiosk made of concrete or bricks with a roof, fetching bay and proper drainage.

  • A poorly designed and constructed water kiosk is, for example, a kiosk made of iron sheets or a kiosk made of concrete/bricks without a fetching bay and proper drainage.

3. Domestic, private or individual tap/ connection

Domestic, house, private or individual tap/connection: A water outlet, located within the yard or house, which is owned (or rented) by an individual, family or household. Access is usually restricted to the occupants of the yard, although some owners/users of private connections sell water to neighbours (neighbourhood sales). (Source: MajiData).

Piped water into dwelling, also called a household connection, is defined as a water service pipe connected with in-house plumbing to one or more taps (e.g. in the kitchen and bathroom) (Source: JMP: http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

Metered connection: A water connection which is metered. All water which is used is supposed to pass through the meter. (Source: MajiData).

4. Indoor plumbing

Indoor plumbing: Plumbing works inside the dwelling connected to various water outlets such as taps, showers and toilets. (Source: MajiData).

5. Yard tap

Piped water to yard/plot, also called a yard connection, is defined as a piped water connection to a tap placed in the yard or plot outside the house.(Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

6. Communal tap

Communal tap:

  • A water outlet where the members of a group (the user group of the communal tap) can fetch water. In other words, access is restricted to the members of the user group or local community. The water bill is shared by the members of the group. (Source: MajiData).

7. Public stand pipe (or) post

Public standpipe:

  • A water outlet (one or more taps) where residents can fetch water free of charge. Access to the public standpipe is not restricted; in principle everybody has access. (Source: MajiData).
  • Public tap or standpipe is a public water point from which people can collect water. A standpipe is also known as a public fountain or public tap. Public standpipes can have one or more taps and are typically made of brickwork, masonry or concrete.(Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

8. Prepaid public stand pipe or yard tap

A public stand pipe or yard tap where users can access water by using a token or smart card which is read by an “intelligent water meter”. Users usually have to charge their token before being able to fetch water. Data stored by the meter can be sent to the office of the provider.

In most cases yard taps can only be accessed by users that have a specific yard tap token (smart card). Public stand pipes can be accessed by all users that have a public stand pipe token or smart card. (Source: MajiData).

9. Borehole


  • A hole bored or drilled in the earth. A borehole can be drilled or bored to supply water. (Source: Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary).
  • A tube well or borehole is a deep hole that has been driven, bored or drilled, with the purpose of reaching groundwater supplies. Boreholes/tube wells are constructed with casing, or pipes, which prevent the small diameter hole from caving in and protects the water source from infiltration by run-off water. Water is delivered from a tube well or borehole through a pump, which may be powered by human, animal, wind, electric, diesel or solar means. Boreholes/tube wells are usually protected by a platform around the well, which leads spilled water away from the borehole and prevents infiltration of run-off water at the well head. (Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

10. Yard well (protected and unprotected)

Yard well: A well which was dug within the yard (by or for the occupants/ landlord). Access is usually restricted to the occupants although in some areas well water is given or sold to neighbours. (Source: MajiData).

A protected yard well:

  • Is usually lined, has a concrete superstructure and a cover. A diversion storm-drainage may be constructed around the well to ensure that flood and waste water is channelled away from the well.
  • A protected dug well is a dug well that is protected from runoff water by a well lining or casing that is raised above ground level and a platform that diverts spilled water away from the well. A protected dug well is also covered, so that bird droppings and animals cannot fall into the well.

(Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

An unprotected yard well lacks the protective features of a protected yard well (see above).

  • Unprotected dug well. This is a dug well for which one of the following conditions is true: 1) the well is not protected from runoff water; or 2) the well is not protected from bird droppings and animals. If at least one of these conditions is true, the well is unprotected.

(Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

11. Public well (protected and unprotected)

Public well: Unlike a yard well a public well is accessible to members of the public and is usually located in a public space/ area. (Source: MajiData).

A protected public well:

  • In addition to having the technical features of the protected yard well, it often has a perimeter fence to protect it against domestic and farm animals. The fence also serves to facilitate cleaning and maintenance works and to prevent damage (caused by trucks, carts, etc.). Watering of animals is usually outside the perimeter fence.

An unprotected public well:

  • Usually lack these (above-mentioned) features. (Source: MajiData).

12. Spring (protected and unprotected)

Spring: A source of supply: especially a source of water issuing from the ground. (Source: Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary).

Springs are special areas where water sprout naturally from the ground. Springs which are used by communities usually undergo changes which aim to facilitate access (clearing of bushes, channelling of water and drainage) and the fetching of water (the spring is deepened to allow for dipping of containers).

A protected spring:

  • Is characterised by a range of protective measures and features which may include the planting of trees to prevent erosion (but not eucalyptus trees), the construction of a perimeter fence, the construction of a concrete spring wall with outlet pipes, the construction of a fetching bay and the construction of a storage reservoir. (Source: MajiData).
  • The spring is typically protected from runoff, bird droppings and animals by a "spring box", which is constructed of brick, masonry, or concrete and is built around the spring so that water flows directly out of the box into a pipe or cistern, without being exposed to outside pollution. (Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

An unprotected spring: 

13. Water cart

Water cart: Cart with small tank/drum. This refers to water sold by a provider who transports water into a community. The types of transportation used include donkey carts, motorized vehicles and other means. (Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

14. Tanker truck

Tanker-truck services: The water is trucked into a community and sold from the water truck. (Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

15. Surface water

Surface water: Is water located above ground and includes rivers, dams, lakes, ponds, streams, canals, and irrigation channels. (Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

16. Bottled water

According to JMP, bottled water is considered to be improved only when the household uses drinking-water from an improved source for cooking and personal hygiene; where this information is not available, bottled water is classified on a case-by-case basis. (Source: JMP; http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

17. Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting:

Harvested rainwater: Refers to rain that is collected or harvested from surfaces (by roof or ground catchment) and stored in a container, tank or cistern until used. (Source: JMP: http://www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/watsan-categories/).

Rainwater harvesting:

  • Is the accumulating and storing, of rainwater for reuse, before it reaches the aquifer. It has been used to provide drinking water, water for livestock, water for irrigation, as well as other typical uses given to water. Rainwater collected from the roofs of houses, tents and local institutions, can make an important contribution to the availability of drinking water. Water collected from the ground, sometimes from areas which are especially prepared for this purpose, is called storm water harvesting. In some cases, rainwater may be the only available, or economical, water source. Rainwater harvesting systems can be simple to construct from inexpensive local materials, and are potentially successful in most habitable locations. Roof rainwater can't be of good quality and may require treatment before consumption. As rainwater rushes from you're roof it may carry pollutants in it such as the tiniest bit of mercury from coal burning buildings to bird or dog faeces. Although some rooftop materials may produce rainwater that is harmful to human health, it can be useful in flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden and washing cars; these uses alone halve the amount of water used by a typical home. Household rainfall catchment systems are appropriate in areas with an average rainfall greater than 200 mm (7.9 in) per year, and no other accessible water sources. Overflow from rainwater harvesting tank systems can be used to refill aquifers in a process called groundwater recharge, though this it is a related process, it must not be confused with Rainwater harvesting.

There are a number of types of systems to harvest rainwater ranging from very simple to the complex industrial systems. The rate at which water can be collected from either system is dependent on the plan area of the system, its efficiency, and the intensity of rainfall (i.e. annual precipitation (mm per annum) x square meter of catchment area = litres per annum yield). (Source: Wikipedia).

  • Defined as a method for inducing, collecting, storing and conserving local surface runoff for agriculture in arid and semiarid regions. Rainfall has four facets. Rainfall induces surface flow on the runoff area. At the lower end of the slope, runoff collects in the basin area, where a major portion infiltrates and is stored in the root zone. After infiltration has ceased, then follows the conservation of the stored soil water. (Source: http://www.fao.org/).

  • Collecting water from a roof, driveway or other hard surface during a rainfall and channelling it into a rain barrel or other container to be saved for use in landscaping or in the household. Harvested rainwater is sometimes used as potable water, too, but it typically must be filtered and/or chemically treated first.

(Source: http://www.blueegg.com/Green-Glossary/Rainwater-harvesting.html ).

18. Hand pump

Hand pump:

  • A pump worked by hand; pump: a mechanical device that moves fluid or gas by pressure or suction. (Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hand+pump ).

  • Hand pumps are used primarily in developing nations as a manually powered means of bringing water to the surface from a borehole, rainwater tank or well. The main types of hand pumps are the India Mark II, the India Mark III, and the Afridev deep-well (30 - 40 m deep) pumps. (Source: http://dictionary.babylon.com/hand_pump/ ).

19. Water container

Water Containers: Kenyans use a variety of receptacles to fetch their water. The most common one is the 20-litre plastic or metal container (jerrycan). Other receptacles used are:

  • The small (5-litre) container.

  • The 70-litre drum.

  • The 200-litre (oil) drum. (Source: MajiData).