Mark Tiele Westra's blog
Ever seen water flow uphill? Without help of petrol or electricity? Meet the hydraulic ram, a robust and simple water-powered water pump. The ram pumps uses the power of water with a height difference flowing in the spring, stream or river to lift a fraction of the water up to 200 meters vertically, and sometimes pump it over a kilometre or two to where it is needed. No fuel or electricity required. The ram pump holds great potential for rural drinking water and irrigation water supply in hilly and mountainous areas, such as Afghanistan, Colombia, Nepal, and the Philippines.
Photo above: Children surrounding a hydraulic ram produced by AIDFI on the island Negros, the Philippines.
Akvo is always looking for ways to assist our partners in realizing water and sanitation projects around the globe. Last year we approached the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) to see if any of their students would be interested in exploring concepts that could help increase the water awareness of the general public. Five students immediately formed the Design for Water group.
Around the world, most boreholes are drilled with big, heavy equipment which arrives by truck, makes a lot of noise, and gets the job done in a short time, at a cost of about $5,000 to $20,000 per borehole. But there is a growing interest in doing it in a different way -- drilling by hand. It takes longer, it is heavy work, but it also gets the job done. Why are people getting interested? A hand-drilled borehole costs about $500 or less.
I spent October 2009 doing a super-intensive water and sanitation course in Bolivia, organized by the Mobile School for Water and Sanitation -- EMAS. There, I met Samuel Ito Cartajena, aged 39, and his wife Hermelinda Yapanqui de Ito. Together with their 16 year-old daughter, they live in Juliaca, a city in the Puno region in southern Peru. Samuel was one of our teachers, and Hermelinda cooked for the twenty of us. This is their story.