Updated on December 21, 2023


Created on August 27, 2015

AIDFI Ram Pump

The AIDFI ram pump delivers water to higher elevation using flowing water without electricity.

Tested By
  • AID Foundation Inc. (AIDFI)
Content Partners
  1. Siemens | Stiftung


Product Description

Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc (AIDFI) ram pumps are designed to provide access to clean water for remote rural communities. These pumps utilize gravity to collect water from stream sources into the pump’s reservoir and establish a pressure differential that drives the system. This system requires no electricity or fuel, and with the continued maintenance could provide water for over 20 years.

Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)


Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Sold and Installed by AIDFI; usually donated by a governmental agency or NGO to communities. Partners include Coca Cola Foundation, Department of Agriculture and Siemens Stiftung.

Manufacturing/Building Method

AIDFI manufactures the ram pumps in its own workshop to ensure the quality remains high, and does not use subcontractors. All materials are sourced locally, with exception of steel, which is imported from Japan. Interview with representative

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Development agencies, NGOs, or governmental agencies purchase the Ram Pump and its installation from AID Foundation Inc., for their specific projects in communities. The pump is then maintained by community-level technicians, who are local individuals trained on the Hydraulic Ram Pump system and paid by their community members.  Interview with representative

Distributions to Date Status

By March 2019, more than 1000 ram pumps had been installed bringing easy access to water to ~270,000 people.

Pump type

Hydraulic ram pump

Power requirement (W)


Average flow rate (L/min at specific head)


Maximum head (m)

240 m

Diameter (cm)

1.9 – 15.24 cm

Design Specifications

Ram pumps use the power available in flowing water at an elevation of a few meters to lift a small percentage of that water through a much greater height, to where it is needed. These pumps utilize gravity to collect water from stream sources into the pump\\\'s reservoir, creating a high pressure within the reservoir. The pressure opens a valve, creating pressure now against the air in the delivery pipe, which forces water out through the delivery piped system. AIDFI makes 10 different sizes of pumps with intake rates ranging from 10 to 2500 litres per minute. An average installation serves 50 households or 300 people. The most novel feature of the AIDFI ram pump is the use of a door hinge for the waste valve, which creates a steel-to-steel seal. This avoids the use of a gasket, which would quickly wear out in this high-impact valve. A further feature is a submersible box around the outflow of the waste valve, which prevents air entering the pump at the end of each cycle. This is important as if air enters the ram body it reduces the efficiency of the pump. The design developed by AIDFI uses mild steel for the body of the ram pump itself, including the final section of the drive pipe and air reservoir. Some critical parts are made from stainless steel to ensure they last throughout the expected lifetime of over 20 years. For small schemes, an individual pump is used, but for larger schemes, multiple pumps can be connected in parallel or in series (depending on the head and flow rate). The pumps can operate continuously and deliver water to a reservoir.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

According to AIDFI, poor maintenance will result in failure of the ram pump. Technical support is provided by local individuals, who have been trained in maintenance and routine replacements necessary for the pump. Payment for service is provided via a community-managed fund. The community using the ram pump may collect a small fee monthly from each household to pay the technicians for maintenance of the system. Interview with representative

Replacement Components

Valves require regular replacement, every 3-6 months.  Interview with representative


Expected lifetime of over 20 years. Interview with representative

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

AIDFI manufactures 5 different sizes of pumps with intake rates ranging from 10 to 2500 litres per minute, accommodating delivery heights of up to 200 metres. Pumps do not require any electricity or fuel to run.

Vetted Performance Status

Testing performed by the manufacturer determined that the product can pump up to elevations of 240 m.


Users must take appropriate precautions when maintaining the hydraulic ram pump.

Complementary Technical Systems

Water purification systems to improve drinking water quality.

Academic Research and References

Agbanlog, R.C., Chen, G., 2014, Mini Hydro-Electric Power Plant with Re-Circulated Water Power Source, Proceedings of the 2014 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference

Tantingco, H., 2014, Alternative Approaches to Development: Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines, thesis, Victoria University of Wellington.

Sapkota, B., Pandey, G., Kharel, U., Chaualgain, R.K., 2017, Design, Fabrication and Testing of Hydraulic Ram Pump with Water Reticulation System, Proceedings of IOE Graduate Conference, Vol.5

“Ashden • Climate Change Charity,” Ashden Climate Solutions, https://ashden.org/

“Our work,” AIDFI, https://www.aidfi.org/our-work/international/ 

“Home,” AIDFI, https://www.aidfi.org/ 

 “Our work,” AIDFI, https://www.aidfi.org/our-work/ 

“Blake Hydram hydraulic ram pump,” Engineering For Change, https://www.engineeringforchange.org/solutions/product/blake-hydram-hydraulic-ram-pump/

 W. Curt Beckmann, “Hydraulic ram pumps,” Appropedia, the sustainability wiki, https://www.appropedia.org/Hydraulic_ram_pumps “Goal 6 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs,” United Nations, https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6

“AIDFI Technologies | how the AIDFI Ram Pump Works,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WweCg35dCQo 

Aidfi Ram Pump, https://www.techxlab.org/solutions/alternative-indigenous-development-foundation-inc-aidfi-ram-pump 

Design , fabrication and testing of hydraulic ram pump with water …, https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Design-,-Fabrication-and-Testing-of-Hydraulic-Ram-Sapkota-Pandey/ed461f8f5b6f9de3c04b515008f77882e6ef4e0b

“#RELXENVIRONMENTALCHALLENGE2015 – explore,” Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/relxenvironmentalchallenge2015?source=feed_text&story_id=430745037127275

“Our work,” AIDFI, https://www.aidfi.org/our-work/agos-ram-pump-project/

Compliance with regulations


Evaluation methods

The product was evaluated for its performance in various operating conditions and the impact of adding a re-circulation system by the Institute of Engineering.

Other Information

The product was evaluated for its performance in various operating conditions and the impact of adding a re-circulation system by the Institute of Engineering.

Comments from the Community

1 Comment


    hello everyone,

    can i have a practical design for this pump as i am planning to fabricate it for small communities water supply here in laos.

    thanks and more power!


Leave a Reply

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