Treadle Pump


Treadle Pump Contact Solution Provider

Solution Overview & Benefits

The treadle pump is a human-powered irrigation device that sits on top of a well. Pumping is activated by stepping up and down on treadles which drive pistons, creating cylinder suction that draws groundwater to the surface. Treadle pumps free farmers from dependence on rain-fed irrigation, provide capacity to raise crops in two growing seasons per-year, and help farmers maximize return on their small plots of land.

There are three different models of iDE Treadle Pumps available:

-The Portable Treadle Pump: Portable models have an inlet pipe that can be extended to surface water or down a well, and can be used for watering up to 1,500 square meters, and its portability allows it to be used for multiple fields. Treadles, handles and the frame are generally made of steel, but they can be made of local materials (wood or bamboo), as well.

-The Fixed Treadle Pump: The Fixed Treadle Pump is a foot-operated, low-cost option for accessing large quantities of water when the depth to water is less than seven meters. Fixed models are mounted on a well casing and use the casing pipe as the pump support. Treadles, handles and the frame are generally made of local materials (wood or bamboo).

-The Pressure Treadle Pump: These pumps are especially versatile and can be used for a large variety of irrigating conditions. Most models have an inlet pipe that can be used to draw water from the surface or under ground. Available water output is inversely proportional to the height the pump is lifting the water: the deeper the water, and the higher or further the water is pushed, the less water output is available for the same energy expended.

Pump prices, including installation, range between US$20 and $100 based on country of purchase and type of pump.

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): 20 to 50 USD
Available online: yes

Additional Information

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


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