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.
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.
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)
Human powered treadle pump
Irrigation capacity (acre)
Maximum flow rate (L/min)
Maximum lift/head (m)
Required pressure (MPa)
Maximum distance from water source (m)
Power requirement: Max power (W)
Power requirement: Max motor current (A)
Power requirement: Voltage range (V)
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.
IDE trains technicians and provides technical assistance if needed.
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
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.
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