Springs occur where water from an underground aquifer flows out of the ground to the surface. The spring can occur where the water flows out of the ground by gravity, or it could be an artesian spring where the water appears at the surface under pressure from a confined aquifer below.
Water from springs can be of good quality microbiologically if the spring is well protected. Some springs flow all year round and some springs only flow for part of the year. It is very important when deciding on which spring to protect that local knowledge is used, particularly the knowledge of women and elders, to identify which springs are known to be the most reliable.
This Technical Brief looks at spring protection including the catchment area, the immediate area around the spring and the construction of spring boxes. It also highlights two methods of reducing sediments in the water coming from large springs and introduces alternative protection methods to spring boxes.
- Fence the whole spring capping area to prevent access by livestock or any other animals.
- Provide the spring box with a simple silt trap, silt wash-out and an overflow pipe below the level of the eye.
- Where possible, provide storage – depending on the flow rate and water demand.
- In areas where epidemics occur regularly, make provision to chlorinate spring boxes.