Friday, April 28, 2017

The Ram Pump Revolution

Many of us who live in a first-world country often take our access to clean water for granted. For example, a typical morning for an American involves using the toilet, showering, brushing teeth, and making coffee. Each of these tasks increases our health and well-being but requires water to be accomplished, which we can access simply by turning a knob. As we go about living our first-world lives it can be easy to forget that not everyone has easy access to clean, potable water.

There are many remote villages that have a local water source but it is too difficult to access. Many villages still use manual labor as a means to retrieve water from such a source. This often means they have to hand-carry water in containers for several miles to their village. This process is strenuous and consumes a lot of time which could be spent doing other things. Could you imagine spending the bulk of your day hauling heavy water jugs several miles to your house, just so you can have clean water? Luckily, there are a number of ways such a situation can be improved. One solution is the use of a device called a ram  pump.

A ram pump is a hydraulic system used to transport water from a local water source, such as a river, to a new location. This is a great option for remote villages that do not have easy access to water or electricity. Ram pumps use the energy from water and gravity to power the pump, so electricity is not required for the pump to work. It is a relatively simple system but it is incredibly effective at pumping water, even up hill. If a ram pump is installed at an appropriate water source it can provide more than enough water to meet the needs of a small village.

One of the drawbacks of a ram pump is that it requires a source of water that is flowing downward since it relies on the force of gravity to operate. If a water source does not fit the requirements for a ram pump then a different solution would be required. But the simplicity and easy maintenance of a ram pump make it one of the best options available for a remote village to increase their access to water.

Below is a video from Green Empowerment that describes a real life deployment of a ram pump and the benefits it has brought to a remote community. This is just one of the many villages that have received ram pumps to improve their access to water. One of the things I like about this project that the responsibility is shared between the village community, local government, and the organization that installed the ram pump (AIDFI). This is a very cooperative approach to improving the lives of the villagers without placing the burden all on one group. It also maintains a high level of self-reliance for the village while having a very low impact on the environment. Click below to see the ram pump revolution for yourself:

If you see value in a project like this then you may consider donating to Green Empowerment. They work with organization like AIDFI to realize their vision for "an equitable and sustainable world where everyone has clean water, renewable energy and a healthy environment in which to grow and thrive." Even a small contribution can have a big impact.

You can view their mission description and annual reports here:

You can donate here:

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