W154: Water Pump

Here is another low tech design in a water pump that is transforming lives. I saw this one on Link TV as well as here at Inhabitat’s project H. You can’t see well in the picture, but the device has 2 foot pads that one steps on to pump. The action is much like gym equipment, stepper, with a purpose.
Kickstart, an organization promoting tools and technologies to end poverty, has found a great product that solves immediate problems and stimulates potential local economies. It’s called the MoneyMaker Micro-Irrigation Pump, available as the Original design or the new Super pump, and it allows rural small-scale farmers to pull water from underground to more efficiently irrigate their farms. Many thousands of entrepreneurial farmers are now irrigating with Kickstart’s manual irrigation pumps and changing their small subsistence farms into vibrant new commercial enterprises. With irrigation they can grow and sell as many as three to four high value vegetable crops every year, and ensure that the crop is ready for market when the price is high. The pump is currently being distributed throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
I think all of these simple inventions lend themselves to a post-oil life in developed countries as well. This scenario of one’s own pump for one’s own garden (individual or community) beats the fuck out of buying water from a rich guy (is adding 'white' redundant?) with a 6 billion dollar wind farm and water rights to an entire aquifer across half a dozen states. That is the horror story No Impact Man wrote about this week.

But back to the manual irrigation pump.
The Statistics:
  • 45,000 pumps currently in use by poor farmers
  • 29,000 new waged jobs created
  • $39 million per year in new profits and wages generated by the pump
  • More than 50% of the pumps managed by women
  • 4 manufacturers producing the pumps
  • Over 400 retailers selling pumps in Kenya, Malawi, and Tanzania

This is a fantastic way to donate a few dollars and help a family with a very tangible item of need.

I wrote about a design I was musing about for myself in the comments yesterday.

In my own mind I daydreamed about capturing the greywater from my home, filtering it, diverting it to a leaching tank with plants and then some sort of exercise bike or stepper that would pump it up to a roof - a green roof. Would that be cool or what?

Although I’d forgotten how this actually worked, I believe this was what triggered the idea.

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