Water Pumps

4-inch PVC Handpump, 50 gal/min

[Added 5-25-11: see instructions for building on YouTube] This is a simple handpump made from off-the-shelf components. The large diameter makes it suitable only for low heads, like from an irrigation canal or shallow well. However, at the pumping rate shown in the video it fills a 5-gallon bucket in 6 seconds! The addition of a pump handle would allow somewhat higher pumping heads since it takes a good bit of effort to lift that much water. Total parts cost of the pump in the video is under $70. 

Water Wheel Pump

Pulser Pump

Claimed to be 'the world's simplest water pump' 

The pulser pump uses hydropower with no moving parts! 
It is just pipes joined together. People have made pulser pumps and pulser pump models in Europe, Asia, and north America and posted them to youtube. Probably other places too. ( Please check out and make the pulser pump nano too. The nano began in 2011 as a suggestion from Virlusun on youtube) Nobody has ever made a pulser pump nano.
The one in the videos have worked for over 2 decades.
This idea was probably thought of and used (and lost) before I thought of it.
If you have ever seen a tromp powering an airlift pump to pump water (or reference to it), prior to 1986, please let me know. a entry, and more people will have confidence to use them.
The pulser pump began in 1988. This is a small one in Ireland. Thanks Wikipedia (june 08) for updating the definition for trompe at my request.

Williamson ram pump

A very simple but effective water pump that uses the energy of a large amount of water falling a small height to pump a smaller amount of water to much greater height.
200+ year old idea, 16 year old video, new website at thttp://williamsonrampump.co.nz/

Archimedes Screw Principle Explained

The Rebirth of Archimedes' Ancient Pump

Windmill, a pedal powered pump, and drip irrigation 

This movie descibes different options for irrigation. Use of a windmill and pedal-powered pump are shown, and the use of drip irrigation to distribute the water.
All movies are available in full length at http://vimeo.com/channels/emas
More info at http://www.emas-international.de
Published in cooperation with http://www.akvo.org. For more low-cost water and sanitation solutions, visit http://www.akvopedia.org

Homemade Windmill Waterpump

garden irrigation system


Part 2

Another Windmill Design for Moving water

Lifting instead of pumping water

Rope and washer pump with drive pulleys

I designed this pump in Bolivia as an alternative to the usual expensive hand pumps that were available to the people there. The idea is very ancient, going back to Chinese 'water ladders' and afterwards the chain and washer pumps.

The rubber washers on this one are punched from tire sidewalls, threaded on to 1/4" polypropylene rope, and knots tied on either side of the washers. The actual pumping section is at the bottom, and is a 3' length of 1" PVC pipe. There are always at least three washers in the pumping section to minimize leakback (but only three to minimize friction), and always at least three washers being gripped by the pulleys made of tire sidewalls. The pump is quite simple to make and inexpensive.

Notice that it does take some time for the pump to fill the 1.25" riser pipe and finally exit the unit. This pump required an extra set of drive pulleys so the operator could lift water into a raised tank. The drive belt is made from a long spiral piece of rubber cut from a tire sidewall and with the ends wired together. The tires were all free from a local tire shop.

Note that the R & W pump can be used as a water-driven motor if it's used in reverse, i.e. falling water is allowed into the upper pipe and exits at the bottom. Power can then be taken off the pulley shaft.

Rope Pump 

In its many ancient incarnations, the rope pump has been named the ball-and-chain pump, Chinese liberation pump, Noria pump, paternoster pump, chain pump, and many others. Its original design used tubes made of wood (hollowed-out tree trunks, for example), and big balls of leather or wooden plates. These earlier variations of the rope pump were used extensively for irrigation in agriculture and in the large and leaky wooden-canvas-hemp ships of the day, to pump out any unwanted water and prevent sinking.


This effect can be used to move water up (although it gets hot).

Solar Thermosiphon Effect in Action

Thermosiphon pond pump

Discussion about using the Thermosiphon effect for a Pond Pump
in Permies.com

Chain Pump

The chain pump is type of a water pump in which several circular discs are positioned on an endless chain. One part of the chain dips in to the water, and the chain runs through a tube, slightly bigger than the diameter of the discs. As the chain is drawn up the tube, water becomes trapped between the discs and is lifted to and discharged at the top. Chain pumps were used for centuries in the ancient Middle East, Europe, China, and ancient Egypt.