This paper presents an analysis of the relationships between technology of water point, management related practices and functionality over time through an extensive water point mapping study made in 15 rural districts of Tanzania, which covered 15% of the total rural population of the country. Results show irregular functionality rates at district level by technology, but reveal statistical dependence between functionality and technology at regional level. Management-related questions show that reported expenditure is the indicator most related to functionality. All categories of water points show very low performance over time. In the first five years of operation, about 30% of water points become non-functional. Only between 35% and 47% of water points are working 15 years after installation, depending on the technology. By categories, hand pumps are the less durable of the technologies studied. We suggest that more emphasis has to be placed on the creation of community capacities to manage the services during and after the installation of water points. At the same time, the role of decentralised government has to be strengthened to provide support to community services in the long term.
Keywords: access, Africa, rural areas, sustainability, Tanzania, technology, water supply