This paper describes a highly successful community water supply program that was a part of a cooperative effort between Brazil's Ministry of Health and the Institute for Inter-American Affairs of the United States. The Serviço Especial de Saúde Pública (SESP) built hundreds of small water supplies across Brazil from 1942 to 1991 with an extremely low failure rate. When it was evaluated in 1960, by a team of specialists from the International Cooperation Association (USAID's predecessor), they found a failure rate of less than 1%. The sustainability of SESP's water supply program can be attributed to five principles described here that can give guidance in future efforts to develop sustainable community water projects in low-income countries.

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