Paul van Beers, Fairwater Foundation
A stainless steel hand pump distributed in African communities.
The BluePump by FairWater Foundation is a water pump intended for communities in rural Africa. This lever-action reciprocating handpump draws water from depths of up to 100 m. It is intended to last 10-15 years with very little to no maintenance. BluePumps are preferably built in a BlueZone, an area with over 30 BluePumps installed, a trained area mechanic, an agent that supplies support, and a caretaker, who follows up on the pumps daily care and needs.
BluePump distributors are currently located in the target regions of: The Netherlands, UK, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Republic of Congo, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda.
The BluePump is primarily distributed by BOODE Inc. or through regional BluePump dealers in Africa which can also provide the installing and the associated service. Implementing organizations include ASAP, Bluezone Ltd, British Army, Foundation Dogon Education, Global Resource Alliance, GRA Tanzania, IRD Swaziland, Join the Pipe, Obakki Foundation, OXFAM, Sanex, SORIM, Swe-Gam and Techno Relief Services.
2,300- 3,800 USD (2100-3450 EUR)Converted on May 2020
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Target users include rural African communities, schools and health centers lacking access to a potable and reliable water source.
This product is manufactured by BOODE Inc. in the Netherlands and is not suitable for local manufacturing.
Fairwater Foundation BluePump ® is trademarked.
The product is provided by donation only.
By the end of 2019, over 1,500 were installed across 10 countries in Africa.
Description of the pump type
Power required, measured in watts
Manufacturer-specified discharge rate, measured at a specific head
Maximum depth of water the pump can pull
Piston nominal diameter, measured in centimeters
The core of the BluePump is a stainless steel pump part with a double foot valve which functions even under the pressure of a 100 m water column. Unlike regular pumps, the BluePump does not have a rubber seal that needs regular replacement and the bearings are self-lubricating.
- Rising mains: Ø 70/80 x 2000 mm.
- Glue sockets Ø 80/95 x 180 mm.
- Rods: Ø 12 mm x 2.000 mm. INOX 304 fully threaded with M12 locknuts.
- Centralizers: 2 x Ø 68 x 15 mm. floating HDPE high resistance, double use.
- Bearings: Ø 30 / 50 mm. self adjusting & maintenance free.
- Cylinder: Ø 53 / 57 x 90, INOX 304 with double foot valve system.
- Valves: 3 x Ø 30 mm, INOX 304, optional ceramic as well.
- Piston Ø 53 x 380 mm POM (maintenance free). Max stroke = 200 mm.
- Handle: Ø 62 x 1.200/ 1.500 mm, extendable with counterweight.
Depth range: From 1 to 100 m deep. Below 40 m with Bottom Support (BS) system.
Discharge at normal easy pumping rate at noted depth:
- At 10 m. 30 L/min.
- At 25 m. 25 L/min.
- At 50 m. 20 L/min.
- At 80 m. 15 L/min.
Installation: The BluePump can be installed by one technician only, with one assistant, up to 100 m deep, without the need for specific tools. Under normal circumstances the BluePump requires no spare parts for 10 to 15 years.
Shipping specifications: 40 BluePumps with each 40 meters of PVC pumping can ship in a 20 inch box
Rehabilitation of abandoned handpumps: Can be inserted into old boreholes to rehabilitate abandoned handpumps; Installation is easy and can be done without specific tools between only 2 people; fits onto the 4-bolt cement base used for Afridev or India handpumps.
Installation and service is provided by trained regional mechanics or the Regional Maintenance Team (RMT). RMTs are trained to assist communities with a yearly check-up and repairs and can be contracted for a maintenance contract for about 10 USD per family per year, not including travel costs.
Fairwater claims that the BluePump is a minimal maintenance handpump. Maintenance is limited to occasional checking nuts and bolts on the box. The cylinder has a stainless steel valve and no rubber seal and is considered nearly maintenance free. Over time the deeper centralizers below 40 m will wear out on one side, but they can be turned around and be used again. Most parts are locally available or can be made locally.
BluePump parts and spares are available with the country dealer and with Boode in The Netherlands. According to FairWater data for about 5 years of operation of the BluePump in Africa, it is estimated that the durability of the main wearing parts (under normal conditions) is:
- Centralizers: 5 – 10+ years
- Bearings: 5 – 10+ years
- Valves: 5 – 25+ years
- Second footvalve rubber: 5 – 10 years
- Piston: 25+ years
- Bottom Support sleeve seal: 5 – 10+ years
Under normal circumstances the BluePump requires no spare parts for 10 to 15 years. There is no warranty information provided.
The designer specified performance targets include: low cost maintenance, light operation, durable and groundwater exploitation up to 100 m.
A volumetric efficiency analysis was conducted as part of A Comparative Evaluation Of Ultra Deep-Well – Master’s Thesis by Lucas Cornet of Cranfield University, School of Applied Sciences Water Management: Community Water and Sanitation (September 2012). The results are shown in the graph below. The evaluation concluded that Poldaw is globally more effective than the Afridev BSS, which is more effective than the BluePump.
Testing was conducted by the designer, Fairwater Foundation.
Testing by third party organisations include Cranfield University, School of Applied Sciences Water Management: Community Water and Sanitation and Oxfam.
No known safety hazards are related to this product.
Ground water quality can be improved by adding a filtration and/or chlorination step.
Furey, S., 2014, Handpumps: where now? Rural Water Supply Network/Skat Foundation, St Gallen, Switzerland.
Cornet, L., 2012, A Comparative Evaluation Of Ultra Deep-Well, MSc Thesis, Cranfield University, Bedford.
McSorley, B., Singano, J.J. & Muema, M., 2011, Piloting the BluePump in Turkana, Kenya. Oxfam.
Foster, T. & McSorley, B., 2016, An Evaluation of the BluePump in Kenya and The Gambia. Institute for Sustainable Futures (University of Technology Sydeney) & Oxfam.
This product is evaluate through field studies. A three year project was conducted by the FairWater Foundation and Oxfam aiming to adapt the BluePump to challenges that arose in field studies in Africa.
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