iDE Rope Pump
The product is a hand rotating pump provided by iDE.
iDE distributes a hand rotating manually-operated pump for accessing water when the water table depth is out of reach of suction pumps, up to 35 m.
iDE manufactures the pumps to be distributed by various businesses serving farmers.
iDE implements their own product as part of the Rural Prosperity Initiative II (RPI-II) program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Pump costs vary based on well depth. The greatest variation of 6-22 meter depth was $66.77-85.86 USD (1400-1800 ETB as of 2008).
IDE aim to keep the combined cost of a hand-drilled borehole and pump to below $167.00 USD (3,500 ETB), including installation.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Smallholder farmers in need of micro-irrigation technologies
Individually crafted by local craftsmen/producers
Open source technology
User can contact iDE’s micro-finance office located in Addis Ababa
Financing options: subsidy, access to micro-finance, traditional savings schemes, and raising funds from within family assets.
243 (as of 2011)
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 iDE Rope Pump is a hand-operated option for accessing water when the water table depth is out of reach of suction pumps, up to 35 m. Washers of locally-available material are tied some distance apart along a long loop of rope, which is threaded down into a well and back up through a pipe. As the rope leaves the pipe it passes over a wheel and back down into the well. As the wheel is turned, the washers bring water up in a continuous stream through the pipe.
See image. Product schematics are shown in the iDE catalog, Page 15
Most issues are possible to resolve by basic troubleshooting. Technician support may be needed if issue is complex, however a trained village mechanic should be able to resolve problems.
All of the methods in testing/building a new rope pump are listed in the training manual assistance that iDE provides to a producer/manufacturer.
Rope and washers need periodic replacement, which can be available locally.
Lifespan information unavailable. Individual dealers and organizations implementing the pumps may have their own warranty.
Performance targets are noted in the downloadable catalog here
- Daily pumping to irrigate 200 m² (minutes): 70 – 100, 90 – 130, 140 – 200, 180 – 270
- For depth to water up to 18m, the rope pump can be used for irrigating small plots in addition to other domestic water uses
- For depth to water beyond 18m, the rope pump is best suited for domestic use. Irrigation would be limited to dense agriculture like seedling nurseries
iDE conducted testing
Water quality is still of concern, because of a lack of data for all rope pumps. See report Section 3.6
IDE does not recommend depths over 22 m because the Rope Pump cannot then be effective lifting water for productive purpose, which is their main objective. However yields are still adequate for domestic purposes.
Water output is not pressurized: water will need to be transported to the field, or be elevated to use drip or sprinkle irrigation.
Harvey, P. A., Drouin, T., The case for the rope-pump in Africa: A comparative performance analysis. Journal of Water and Health. 2006;4(4):499-510
Smulders, P.T., Rijs, R.P.P., A hydrodynamic model of the rope pump. Eindhoven University of Technology; 2006 Sep 23.
Alberts, J.H., The rope pump – an example of technology transfer. Waterlines. 2012 Dec 04;22(3).
Goret, A.C., Albers, J.H., Gago, J.F., Sandifor, P., A randomized trial of the impact of rope-pumps on water quality. The Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 1995;98(4):247-255.
Turner, B., Small-scale irrigation in developing countries. Land Use Policy. 1994 Oct;11(4):251-261.
This working paper developed by the Research-inspired Policy and Practice Learning in Ethiopia and the Nile region (RiPPLE) Research Programme Consortium provides a comprehensive analysis of the scaling efforts for rope pumps including IDE’s. The paper notes that the lack of demand for pumps in most areas, and the lack of capacity to respond to demand where it has developed are slowing down any efforts to go to scale. If rope pumps are to play a significant part in Universal Access Plan (UAP) coverage it will need a concerted effort by the Bureau of Water Resources to have them recognised as a valuable technology by both sector professionals and households, and consequently included in their budgets. Technical guidelines are well-developed, but those for introducing and marketing rope pumps are not.
The product is also sold in India.
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