The BluePump with the BlueZone O&M approach is since 2010 an ongoing project of the FairWater Foundation and managed until 2020 by Paul van Beers, the co-founder of FairWater. Since 2020 the BluePump project is coordinated by Geraldo Vallen, the founder of the Join-the-Pipe organization. See www.join-the-pipe.org
About Paul van Beers: He holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Hydrology & Hydrogeology and has an international background with many professional contacts based on over 25 years of research and project management in Africa for Rural & Peri-Urban Water Supply, Hydrology and Environmental projects.
His country working experience includes Burkina Faso, Mauretania, Mozambique, Kenya, Angola, Benin, Chad, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, Brazil, Oman, Uganda, and South Sudan.
He participated in many studies on the performance of handpumps all over Africa. The overall conclusion was that many handpumps (over 50%) in the poor communities fell into disrepair due to the high costs of maintenance and spare parts. It was estimated that over 200.000 handpumps in Africa are now permanent dysfunctional.
However, when he discussed this persistent maintenance problem with NGOs and other stakeholders in the water sector, there seems to be very little commitment nor interested in doing something about this. Most NGOs carried on in the same manner, with a focus on fundraising to repair and replace with the same type of handpumps, obviously with the same poor results.
Nevertheless, because he strongly believed that this key problem of maintenance must be solved, he initiated in 2003 during his assignment as director of the RWD (Rural Water Development) project in Western Kenya the first testing and prototypes of a better handpump. To implement this quality approach in handpump projects, he started with a new NGO to promote such a quality and “Fair” approach to solve the water problems for the poor in Africa; the FairWater Foundation.
Initially, many NGOs and donors could not believe the inconvenient truth that over 50% of the handpumps in poor communities fail and are abandoned within a few years. Only after SKAT/Unicef issued a report in 2010, in which it was clearly acknowledged that indeed there is a huge problem with handpump maintenance, a slow process of awareness started amongst the NGOs.
With the FairWater Foundation, he could continue his mission and research to improve the BluePump. After several years of testing and improving the design, with the help and feedback from many serious NGOs (with special thanks to Oxfam-Kenya, who tested the early designs in very deep boreholes in Turkana, Northern Kenya). The final design of the BluePump was issued in 2015.
By the end of 2019, over 1.500 BluePumps are constantly working in 10 countries in Africa, most of them in deep boreholes with water levels of 60 to 90m deep. The good news is that the interest in the quality approach is increasing.
Many serious international NGOs are using BluePumps now in their projects, such Oxfam in Kenya and in South Sudan, IRD Swaziland, Care International in Mozambique, GRA and Millenium Village project in Tanzania, Obaki Foundation in South Sudan, Red Cross Kenya, South Sudan, and Mozambique, ADRA in Niger, ASAP in Burkina Faso, British Army in Sierra Leone, etc.