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< prev - next > Energy Mechanical Power KnO 100411_Human powered handpumps (Printable PDF)
Hand pumps for water lifting
Practical Action
Key Questions
Technical Aspects
Lift height and How much water does the community
How high does the lifter have to raise the
How deep is the groundwater and is it
likely to fall in future due to over-use?
Water Quality
Are there any water quality limitations which
need to be taken into account?
Oil Conditions What are the local soil conditions?
Can you access water using a hand-dug well
or is drilling required?
Key Questions
Technical Aspects
Is the lifter suitable and acceptable to the
people who will operate it?
Is the operation ergonomic (comfortable to
use) and realistic for the group responsible
for water collection?
Are there health and safety considerations,
such as dangerous machinery or risk of
Financial and Economic Aspects
Capital Cost
What is the initial cost of the water lifter?
Does the village have sufficient funds or is a
loan required?
Material and
Can the lifter be manufactured using local
skills and materials?
Operating Costs What is the operating cost of the lifter?
Does the village have sufficient manpower to
operate the lifter for all the time it is
What is the cost of maintaining/ repairing
the lifter?
Are the skills to maintain/ repair the water
lifter available locally?
Are spare parts available and affordable?
How often is the lifter likely to need
maintenance and/or repair?
How long will repairs take and what will
the villagers do in the meantime?
Life expectancy How long is the lifter expected to last before
it has to be replaced?
How resistant is the lifter to vandalism or
Important Points to Note
Water consumption is usually estimated at
15-60 litres/person/day for rural water
supply projects.
The maximum flow capacity of the hand
pump should be matched to community
demand. (Pump flow rates are given by the
flow-rate/lift-height, or "Q/h", curve, usually
supplied by the manufacturer.) The choice
of hand pump should anticipate growth in
demand and any hence any potential drops
in groundwater levels.
Although most pumps are fitted with a
strainer/sieve to prevent sand or sediment
in the water causing pump damage, some
pumps are particularly sensitive to these
particles and hence their use with water
with a high proportion of solids will lead to
frequent breakdowns.
Where there is very rocky soil a borehole will
usually need to be drilled to reach the
Important Points to Note
The choice of pump should take into
account which group of people are tasked
with water collection. In many cases this
women and children undertake this activity.
It is therefore important to determine if
average and maximum handle forces
required are realistic for these two groups.
Maintenance is an integral part of lifter
management. For more complicated
designs, such as the deep-well pumps, it is
important to carry out preventative
maintenance. Serious problems can be
avoided by undertaking regular inspections
and servicing of the mechanical parts. Wear
and tear will be less severe this way and
any problems will be solved before they
cause major damage.