Updated on January 31, 2024


Created on July 27, 2017

iDE Treadle Pump

Upcoming Update

iDE Treadle pump, a foot operated device, is used to extract water from shallow aquifers or surface water bodies.

Tested By
  • International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
  • Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS)
  • Water and Sanitation Program
Content Partners


Product Description

iDE treadle pump is a foot-operated device to create suction to pump water from shallow aquifers or surface water bodies. It can be attached to a flexible hose, and lift water at shallow depths from any source such as pond, tank, canal, or catchment basin or from tube wells.

It was developed in 1979 by a team working with the Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS), an NGO working in northwest Bangladesh. International Development Enterprises (iDE) facilitates the formation of national and regional networks of suppliers, dealers, and installers.

Target SDGs

SDG 1: No Poverty

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)


Distributors / Implementing Organizations

International Development Enterprises (IDE) through approximately 1,000 stocking dealers in Bangladesh. There is also a treadle pump wholesale market in Dhaka that serves many regional dealers.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Mass produced. IDE works with affiliated manufacturers throughout the regions where they work.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Direct from manufacturer, through dealers, wholesales or hardware stores.

Distributions to Date Status

~4 million (~1.3 million by iDE in Bangladesh between 1984 and 2000)

Pump type

Human powered treadle pump

Irrigation capacity (acre)

0.7 acres

Maximum flow rate (L/min)

72 L/min

Maximum lift/head (m)

7.5 m

Required pressure (MPa)


Maximum distance from water source (m)

7 m

Power source


Power requirement: Max power (W)


Power requirement: Max motor current (A)


Power requirement: Voltage range (V)


Design Specifications

The pump is made mostly of metal and consists of two cylinders (or barrels) usually 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in diameter, connected to a suction pipe at the base, and with an outlet spout at the top. The operating mechanism consists of bamboo or metal foot pedals fitted to a bamboo superstructure, and includes a framework that the operator can hold onto for support. The pump is installed on a bamboo or PVC-lined tubewell.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

IDE trains technicians and provides technical assistance if needed.

Replacement Components

Locally available at hardware stores.


The average life of treadle pumps ranges from 1 to 7 years as seen in the table.

Average life of treadle pumps
Pump Specification Average Life
16-gauge 5-7 years
18-gauge 3-5 years
20-gauge 1-2 years

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

It is claimed that the treadle pump could raise the annual net household income by US$50-$500, on the average. It is said that the average crop yields on “priority plots” tend to be much higher than yields obtained by farmers using diesel pumps or other irrigation devices.

Vetted Performance Status

The performance of the iDE treadle pump was tested by Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Services in 1991, who found it to be "a cheap, efficient manual irrigation pump which is simple to maintain and repair". Studies evaluated by the International Water Management Institute show treadle pump owners have better boro rice, potato and green vegetables yields than pumpless small folders and sometimes even surpassing diesel pump owners.  


First time users can experience aches and pains when operating the product.

Complementary Technical Systems

IDE offers promotion of pump dealers, training and technical assistance, and access to new products.

Academic Research and References

Kay, M. and Brabben, T., 2000, Treadle pumps for irrigation in Africa. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Knowledge Synthesis Report No. 1.

Montaigne, F., and Essick, P., 2002, Water pressure. National Geographic, 202(3), pp. 2-33.

Orr, A.; Nazrul, A. and Barnes, G. 1991, The treadle pump: manual irrigation for small farmers in Bangladesh. Bangladesh: Pioneer Printing Press Ltd. Dhaka.

Shah, T., Alam, M., Dinesh, M., Nagar, R.K. and Mahendra, S., 2000, Pedaling out of poverty: social impact of a manual irrigation technology in South Asia. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International water management institute, Research report No. 45.

van Steenbergen, F., 2003, Creating Markets with the Poor: Selling Treadle Pumps in India. International Institute for Environment and Development, Gatekeeper Series No. 107.

Water and Sanitation Program, 2000, The Treadle Pump: An NGO introduces a low-cost irrigation pump to Bangladesh. Developing Private Sector Supply Chains to Deliver Rural Water Technology, Case Study.

Compliance with regulations

IDE carries out quality inspections, stamping the pumps with a brand name, and selling them to a network of rural dealers.

Other Information

The pump is said to have a benefit-cost ratio of 5, an internal rate of return of 100 percent, and a payback period of one year. Similar treadle pumps, commercialized by Enterprise Works (EW) in West Africa, have reported gender related problems in terms of adopting this technology, suggesting that treadle pumps may not be culturally appropriate or simply will not be used in some regions. The report on 'Treadle pumps for irrigation in Africa' includes a chapter on 'How treadle pumps work'. iDE treadle pump Operating the product Pedaling out of Poverty: Social Impact of a Manual Irrigation Technology in South Asia Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Services  

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