The Rope and Washer Pump
by Steve Herbert
The Water for Humanity Fund focuses on projects which mainly use manual pumping technologies. There are three main reasons for this. One is that in keeping with our emphasis on appropriate technologies, we feel these are devices which can be repaired by local know-how and with readily available parts, assuring the long-term sustainability of the project. The second reason is that we consider the manual pump to be more environmentally sustainable. There is much less waste of the resource, and it is unlikely that the water table can be over-pumped by a hand-operated device. Thirdly, it is less expensive technology and funds for this kind of water resources project maximizes the number of people helped per donation dollar.
Perhaps the best known manual pump and that most commonly installed in WFH projects is the India Mark II pump. This is basically a lever-action device which operates a pump in the bottom of the well that pushes the water up. However, there is another variety of manual pump which is cheaper to manufacture and actually has a greater depth capability than those like the India Mark II. It is called a “rope and washer” pump, or as it is commonly known in
There are various opinions about where the rope and washer pump originated, but most agree it was in
This technology has been further refined since it was first introduced, and is still reaching for perfection. However, it has given rural peoples in the developing world a technology they can construct themselves and one which is more in reach for them economically.