The universalization of drinking water in rural communities poses a great challenge to developing countries, where rural areas often receive poor water service coverage and limited attention from authorities. This scenario is the current reality in Brazil. The community management model of rural water services has proven to be a noteworthy approach to ensure the continuity of water supply where private and public entities do not operate. However, its sustainability depends on several aspects. The authors of the current paper performed a thorough review of relevant publications in the rural sanitation field of study using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) methodology, which enabled the creation of a list of essential factors capable to ensure the sustainability of Rural Water Supply Services (RWSS). Using the Nominal Group Technique with a selection of participants from a national conference held in Brazil in 2015, specialists hierarchized the factors, demonstrating their perception of the most important aspects necessary in RWSS throughout Brazil. Consequently, the authors noticed the necessity of a strong enabling environment, which recognizes small communities and their local services. Water quality control, post-construction support and the existence of a financial scheme were also pointed out as important aspects to ensure RWSS’s sustainability.
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