Solar (photovoltaic) powered water pumps could be a real instrument for the alleviation of water related deaths and illnesses in developing countries through the provision of clean water. However, despite the benefits that access to sustainable potable water supplies can bring, solar powered water pumps have a long way to go before they even begin to meet the needs of those who could use them. This paper addresses some of the complex, inter-related social and technical issues that have prevented solar powered water pumping from reaching its full potential and shows how future efforts should be directed in order to respond to these issues.

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