Demotech, design for self reliance

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Locally made, reliable, effective and affordable water pump also from deeper wells. For private or communal use, for irrigation and for drive by hand, wind or motor.

Please visit also our wiki research pages. (D43)

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In daily use Hundredfold reduction of cost Applicable within poverty Health Comfort Rural

The RopePump, as designed by Demotech and constructed for the first time in Burkina Faso as far back as 1976 needs to be reviewed. Basic engineering needs to be replaced by smarter design details. Considerable improvements should be achieved by halving the cost for materials and time for construction, by doubling the speed of the pump rope to result in a sharp increase of efficiency and by improving the ease of maintenance, specially in regard of the guidance of the rope.
This improved RopePump should be promoted with clear manuals and video's where users discuss performance and construction.

The design for the RopePump aims at the use of PVC or PE pipe of about 25 mm external diameter for applications, lifting water from 10 to 50 meters. The drive wheel will use rubber rope grips, but not be made from a full circle car tire. The drive crank will preferably has bearings on both ends of the crank, different from the usual setup. The pump rope will have guidance in the pump pipe for the upward as well as for the downward movement. The disks or knots will fit loosely and without any precision in the pump pipe. No special tools will be needed to assemble or disassemble the RopePump.
A project will be set up for effectively informing future users and development field workers about all relevant details.

Additional information

This it the front page of the manual for a rope pump from a project in Ceram/Indonesia in 1986. This rope pump is attached to a heavy concrete well cover, that is here discribed,
The return part of the pump rope runs down in the well freely, not in a tube. The bottom inlet block is made of wood. All other parts, the wheel, the cranck and the axle are also made of wood.
More information about this type of rope pump is to be found here.

  • Construction manuals for the Rope Pump
  • The Mobile Training Unit
    An approach for effective introduction and training in villages.
  • A solar driven rope pump
    An illustrated story about a solar driven rope pump in Senegal.
  • Overview of rope pump manuals
    From Demotech and other publishers,
  • 'Appropriate for Women'.
    This illustrated report offers guidelines for including women in development projects, mainly based on our own field experiences with the rope pump.
  • 'Aangepast aan Vrouwen'.
    The original publication, written in the Dutch language
  • '1986, Rope Pumps, a Review of Ten Years Experience'
    . Our experience gained in the first 10 years after our first introduction of the rope pump in Burkina Faso in 1986.
  • 1986, Touwpompen, een verslag van tien jaar ervaring
    Same, but in the Dutch language.

  • Planned progress
    Test findings from practical application in the Gambia regarding guiding the rope. Publish pictures derived from the video footage.

    Internal links

    More on the Why and the How of the Demotech RopePump

    Conditions are listed that are answered by this design. It is of interest to compare these demands with what has acutually been realized in practice. For this read the other papers on the Demotech RopePump and surf to a list of websites that focus on locally produces RopePumps, done so without direct contact with Demotech.

    3D-grafics of long time ago RopePump designs from Indonesia and Ghana

    This grafic 3D-representation is made to bring together some desing ideas on the RopePump that emerged in project work Indonesia in 1981 and Ghana in 1989. It will be shown together with some pictures of RopePumps made in that same period.

    1986, Rope pumps, a review of ten years experience

    Demotech published on the history of her design for the rope pump on behalf of Agromisa, a peridical on Appropriate Technology.
    In 1886 we worked in a project, first on Bandung/Java, then on the island of Ceram. The journey to Ceram was on constructing wells. Our visit to Bandung was to see what had come of out introduction of the rope pump in Indonesia in 1979.
    Demotech's team member Valentina Julien traveled over East Java and asked around if people knew about the "Pompa Tali". She found in small villages a hundred rope pumps, made pictures and notes on its performance, retraced when and why its was build on who's inititative.
    Of her findings we made a report, facinating, because of the very many different ways in which the introduction of the rope pump worked out.
    This well documented report on an autonomous spread of a new technlogy in a short period deserves it to be published. Some day we hope to find time for it. However the conclusions and a summary of this report are part of the following paper.

    The Mobile Training Unit

    The project cooperation in Ghana in the year 1984, with a team from The National Secreteriat resulted in a method to effectively approach villages. We at that time had to find out if the people of a village that we offerded support for making a well or a water pump were ready to accept our conditions. We offered demonstration, expertise and guidance only, no materials, no labor, no finance.
    The elders of a village found this in general unusual, different from the expected approach, where a NGO offered substantial financial support in projects related to water.
    So in most cases, they wanted to wait a little more. However, we could reley on the exeption of that one village, who wanted to grab the opportunity right away. In such a village we made a start, trusting that teh people participating would become the local experts, helping the surrounding villages when demands came in for more wells or pumps.

    External Links

    Rope pumps, other hand pumps and their application

    Links related to waterlifting

    • On drilling bore holes, by Chaungo Barasa, working for CARE International UK
      The only dependable water sources in Garissa are boreholes drilled to an average depth of about 150 metres. At that depth, quality is often assured, so water treatment is not a crucial. A good borehole can yield 20,000 litres an hour, a moderate one 8,000 to10,000 litres an hour. This can serve over 10,000 people and about 6,000 cows. A well developed borehole can last 12 to 15 years, after which it should be rehabilitated to last another eight to 10 years. The cost of an operational borehole is around $50,000.
    • Rope pump for transporting dry granulate
      The idea behind the rope pump used for an entirely different purpose. Disks mounted on a steel cable run fast through a pipe, creating an airflow that transport the granulate, not the disks themselves!
    • Guidelines for drinking water quality
      Drinking-water quality is an issue of concern for human health in developing and developed countries world-wide. The risks arise from infectious agents, toxic chemicals and radiological hazards. Experience highlights the value of preventive management approaches spanning from water resource to consumer.
    • Send us an email form about any relevant link, that should be added here

    What other people say...

    If you like you can add your own comment

    by amintafall - Fri Nov 01 (2002)
    thank you very much reinder for digging the information out of your archives. we are again inspired to keep on constructing this excellent invention of yours and will give you feedback any time between now and november- by the time i hope to have started the well and pumpproject for medina thioub senegal. we are open to receive participants in the vilaage, in senegal at prox. 45 km from the capital. later....

    by Henk Holtslag - Tue Dec 09 (2003)
    New websites Ropepumps
    Dear Reinder This is to inform your invention worked. Different approaches and versions but Rope pumps are spreading out to many countries even in Africa. I estimate there are around 80.000 by now but maybe more used on both communal and family wells. The shift from imported piston pumps to locally produced Ropepumps increased the rural water supply in Nicaragau 23 % in ten years!!!, 3 times fast than countries that did not shift to ropepumps. I would suggest that you mention on your website the new websites on ropepumps such as and Succes with your activities Henk Holtslag

    by Henk Holtslag - Tue Dec 09 (2003)
    Rope pumps Senegal
    I just see on your site that there is someone in Senegal working on ropepumps. Can he send me more information? There are several activities in Senegal on Ropepumps, one is by the organisation Enterprise Works that now train in production of ropepumps after a hands on training by Practica foundation last year Henk Holtslag

    by Aminta Fall - Tue Dec 09 (2003)
    Rope Pumps, MORE rope pumps!!!
    Yes Henk it is a pleasure to see yout interest coming back to Senegal, and here I am still struggling with the one and only real working rope pump, see also, I am waiting for technicians and enthousiastic engineers to come an build more rope pumps and to adjust to deeper wells. Mine is still heavy to rotate and I am looking for abnother ?' or &
    volt motor to drive the pump, the solar panels I have being able to deliver the power.... Desperate now also I am thinking of a small diesel engine to rotate the wheel. The Stichting NDONGO invites any capable guy or girl to come and stay with us in tha field of experiments and work on solutions. Local conditions, local food. I will shortly publish an official report and invitation on these subjects. we are now preparing seeds for new trees, for the future world our children will inherit. Hartelijke groeten, van Hanna Hemmink. Aan allen.

    by Reinder / Demotech - Tue Dec 09 (2003)
    Re: Rope Pumps, MORE rope pumps!!!
    > I am waiting for technicians and enthousiastic engineers to come an build
    > more rope pumps and to adjust to deeper wells ... Hanna, have a look at This rope pump I assisted in building in Ghana as far back as 1984 was easy to cranck, giving plenty water. Yet the borehole was 50 metere deep! Similar experience in Indonesia in 1980, also at other locations. Do not go for a (electric) motor drive too soon, as only the local rich people can afford it. Better check technical details as low or zero pre-tension on the rope and above all the right choise of the internal diameter of the pump pipe. Look it up at: I wish I could come to your place to assist you. It may be only one hour work! Best of luck, Reinder
    > Mine is still heavy to rotate and I am looking for abnother ?' or &?
    > volt motor to drive the pump, the solar panels I have being able to
    > deliver the power....

    If you like you can add your own comment

    What name would YOU give to this device?
    You can assist search machines to find this topic by sending Demotech an email form with one or more appropriate names for this device in your language. Such as: touwpomp, pompe a corde, schijfjespomp, knopenpomp, kettingpomp, sponzenpomp, rope pump, ....
    Relevant words in Portugese :Bomba de corda, bomba simples, tecnologia apropriada, bombear agua sem energia, bomba de arruela, bomba de havaiana, (language-Kikuyu,Kenyan) bobo ya mukanda , ....