For many years, a popular demonstration on ECHO’s farm has been the rope washer pump, made from materials that are available in any country—PVC pipe, an old tire, rope, washers made from tires, and a little wood. Because it can be made on the farm it can also be repaired by those who made it.
Before a recent trip to Nicaragua, I was told that more sophisticated and efficient pump designs were being made in Nicaragua. While there, I found one of the small-scale manufacturers, Mr. Luis Roman Rivera, and bought a new pump for our farm. I understand that Mr. Rivera is one of several rope pump manufacturers in Managua. He was incredibly helpful and had more than a dozen working models on display, including a couple windmill pumps.
He referred me to the website http://www.ropepumps.org, which is funded by two Dutch organizations, Kerkinactie and PRACTICA Foundation. The website is filled with helpful information about rope pumps, showing various models (including their pump capacities) and how to make them. The home page points out that the pumps are an attractive product for local small-scale enterprises to manufacture. They are produced with standard materials and are simply constructed so that even after many years of use farmers can do their own repairs. Evaluations show that more than 95% of these pumps are in operation after many years of use. At their website, be sure to click on “how it works” for a helpful outline of the advantages of rope and washer pumps compared to the common piston pumps.
Blank, D. 2007. New Advances in Rope Washer Pumps. ECHO Development Notes no. 97