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close this book Water purification, distribution and sewage disposal for Peace Corps volunteers
close this folder Section 3: Planning the distribution system
View the document Overview:
View the document Design
View the document Existing facilities
View the document Size and nature of the community
View the document System capacity
View the document Water source
View the document Proposed system
View the document Financing the project
View the document Lesson plans

Size and nature of the community

The proposed water system has to be built around the customs and traditions of the community it will be serving. For example, if the social patterns of the community are built around family structures, the system should strive to provide sources of water to families, and not to the community through centrally located water distribution facilities..

In many developing countries there are some traditions which appear "primitive" to western culture. for example, in most parts of Africa, men swim upstream, and women downstream. Or men first, then women. In Moslem countries women do not appear in public unveiled. For an outsider, Peace Corps are outsiders, to institute an acceptable new system in such areas, he has to study very carefully all such traditions and then modify his system to suit the community. If he cannot adjust the system, he should try to get his point across by explaining to the people (or their representatives) why it is important that he interferes with their life. For example: in the Moslem community cited, the best plan would be to distribute water into houses instead of establishing public wells. It must be emphasized that in order to establish the most effective plan, a thorough study of the community must be done by the planner. Usually a discussion with the local authorities will yield a good result. Remember, when help is imposed from above, it meets with resentment and failure.

In describing the community, care should be taken to determine population, both present and projected.

Population growth is determined by:

1. Future economic developments in the community.

2. The character and location of the community in relation to other population centers.

3. The presence or possible introduction of small industries into and around the community (the installation of water scheme itself will cause population growth.)

A common acceptable estimate for future population growth in most rural areas is a 50% increase in population over a ten year period, or approximately 5% per year. This should be the minimum figure upon which the rural water-supply design should be based.

If this estimate appears too high for a particular situation, the system should be designed for present population in a way as to allow for future expansion.

Example on projecting population:

Original population


Increase over 10 year period 50%


Projected population in 10 years


Relationship between population and storage capacity:

The required capacity for a storage tank equals half the total daily water requirement.

Total daily water requirement = average demand x population + larger users.

(Large users would include public centers, schools and factories. If these are not in the community, then the last term is left out)

Storage Capacity = 1/2 [average demand x design population + large users]