Updated on February 23, 2024


Created on July 25, 2017

Proximity Designs Red Rhino Pump

Upcoming Update

The Red Rhino Water Pump is a mobile, foot-operated pump that allows the user to apply a stepping motion, similar to an elliptical, to draw up water from a well.

Developed By
  1. Proximity Designs
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Product Description

The Red Rhino Water Pump is a mobile, suction, foot-operated pump that allows the user to apply a stepping motion, similar to an elliptical, to draw up water from a well. It is a relatively small treadle pump with a suction depth of 7 m. Proximity Designs designed the pump in Myanmar for local farmers as part of its Yetagon range of farm technology products.

As of September 2020, this product is discontinued.Interview with representative

Target SDGs

SDG 1: No Poverty

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household, Community

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Proximity Designs

Manufacturing/Building Method

Mass produced. Components for the irrigation products are sourced from suppliers in Myanmar, or made in the Proximity factory in Yangon.

Intellectural Property Type

Select Type

User Provision Model

Direct from manufacturer, credit available. The product is also available through a network of village agents who work on commission and family-run agro-dealers in towns.

Distributions to Date Status

44,455 red rhino pumps have been sold since 2004.

Pump type

Human powered treadle pump

Irrigation capacity (acre)

1 acre

Maximum flow rate (L/min)

~83 L/min

Maximum lift/head (m)

7.5 m

Required pressure (MPa)


Maximum distance from water source (m)

1 m

Power source


Power requirement: Max power (W)


Power requirement: Max motor current (A)


Power requirement: Voltage range (V)


Design Specifications

Design specifications

  • A no-fuss, long-lasting, totally mobile foot-powered water pump.
  • A treadle pump operator stands on two metal or wooden treadles and steps using an action similar to a step exercise-machine.
  • The treadles drive a pump connected to a tube well, which is a length of robust plastic pipe sunk into the ground until it reaches the water table.
  • The pump has a maximum depth of about 7.5 metres and deliver up to 5 m3 per hour.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Installation and maintenance can be done by the user. Promoters, agents and distributors get annual training on installation and maintenance and are expected to train users at the time of purchase. Products are designed so that users can install and maintain them without specialised tools, although an agent can help them for a small charge.

Replacement Components

Available with purchase, the initial price of the pump includes spare rubber washers and valves, which need regular replacement.


The pumps have a 1 year warranty, but are said to last for at least 4 years.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

  • Flow rate is said to up to 5 m3 per hour.
  • By using Red rhino pump, it is estimated that farmers can increase net household income by around US$250 per year.

Vetted Performance Status

No third-party testing has been performed, however one farmer reported as part of the manufacturer's monitoring a 6 times increase in plant production in one year, tripling her income.


No specified safety precautions.

Complementary Technical Systems

Through Proximity Finance they provide growers with ongoing access to credit for irrigation and solar products. Farmers can pay cash or take out a short-term loan from Proximity, which adds about 10% to the total cost. The loan can be just for the cost of the irrigation products, or can include cash to buy agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizer. Farmers can also purchase other complementary farm technology products in Proximity Design's Yetagon range such as sprinkler and drip irrigation systems.

Academic Research and References

Hawkins, J., 2014, Honouring innovation. Renewable Energy Focus, 15(3), pp. 40-43.

Keller, J., Keller, A.A. and Rye, J.N., 2011. Small-plot Irrigation Products, Design, and Dissemination. Technical Presentation: 2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, p. 1.

Richards, L.J., 2012, Simple designs remove drudgery. Appropriate Technology, 39(2), p. 53.

Rowell, B., Soe, M.L. and Khine, T.T., 2013, Low pressure drip irrigation for commercial vegetables in Myanmar. SEAVEG 2012 High Value Vegetables in Southeast Asia: Production, Supply and Demand, p. 135.

Rowell, B. and Soe, M.L., 2015, Design, introduction, and extension of low-pressure drip irrigation in Myanmar. HortTechnology, 25(4), pp. 422-436.

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.

Compliance with regulations


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