Rope Pump


Rope Pump Contact Solution Provider

Solution Overview & Benefits

The Rope Pump is a hand-operated, low-cost tool for accessing water when the water table depth is out of reach of suction pumps (up to 35m). It is made from low-precision parts, making it cheaper, more reliable and easier to repair than piston pumps. Washers of locally-available material are tied some distance apart on 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.


  • 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 depths of water beyond 18m, the rope pump is best suited for domestic use. Irrigation would be limited to dense agriculture like seedling nurseries
  • If the rope pump’s drilled well has a casing, it can be sealed to protect the water, as opposed to wells with treadle pumps
  • Repairs can be done with local materials, as opposed to many imported piston pumps
  • Suitable for multiple use/shared use for domestic applications

History & Development

iDE is an international non-profit dedicated to ending poverty in the developing world not through handouts, but by helping farm families access the tools and knowledge they need to increase their income.

iDE's origins as a formal organization lie in a visit to a Somalian refugee camp in 1982. It was there that founder Paul Polak noticed a critical lack of transport limiting the economic opportunities of refugees who were relying on manual transportation for all commodities. Following the principle "in technology, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," iDE re-engineered the local donkey cart and interested local artisans in manufacturing one with a more efficient center of gravity, using abandoned car parts for affordability. The donkey carts were a success; more than 500 were sold, producing $1 million of net income for cart owners.


Publicly available: yes
Countries where available: Worldwide
Price range (USD): Contact supplier for quote

Additional Information

Solution Providers Website (external link) Product Webpage (external link)


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