The Elephant Pump
The Elephant Pump is an extremely simple hand water pump.
It’s name derives from the trunk-like spillway that carries waste water away from the pump base and the elephant ear-like shape of the platforms that you stand on to turn it’s axle.
In partnership with the community, our well teams, as well as digging fresh wells are able to take existing wells and renew them by deepening, cleaning and lining with bricks. Wells are dug by hand, enabling the community to contribute labor to the build. Metal bars are used to break up the earth. Local tools such as machetes and hoes are used to dig and clear away spoil.
Once the well is prepared the pump build can begin. We enclose the well with a concrete housing to avoid future contamination and install a rope pump mechanism to lift the water to the surface. Pump Aid has adapted a Chinese rope design. This is an ancient technology, thought to have originated two thousand years ago. It is low-tech and extremely simple to maintain and to locally source spare parts.
A rope with evenly spaced washers is passed through a guide submerged at the bottom of the well. As the Pump handle is turned, water is drawn up through a small diameter pipe to the surface faucet. Community support is key as we encourage them to contribute locally sourced materials such as river sand and bricks for the project. From the time we identify a suitable site for an Elephant Pump it can often take as little as a week to have the pump installed and running.
An Elephant Pump can also supply water for irrigating fruit trees and growing food crops.
A whitepaper detailing the activity behind an Elephant Pump Water Project can be found here:
We engage the community’s Water Point Committee to take responsibility for their pump and sanitation by training them in its care and maintenance. This ensures the longevity of a project. We are dedicated to providing ongoing support and monitoring of our projects and frequently revisit communities to monitor progress and answer questions from users.
The Pumps are so easy to use that children as young as five years old can pump out a bucket full of water.