Installing a ram pump – AUG 2013

In August, 2013, a small team travelled to the village to work with the village chief on setting up and testing a ram pump, an exercise which gave the village an excellent introduction to ram pumping technology. RAM pumps use water pressure to pump a portion of the incoming water to a higher altitude and, used in the right location, can be a tremendous labour saving device which requires no electricity and little maintenance.

For more info on ram pumps please see the Wikipedia article on ram pumps.

Here is our daily log:

DAY 1 (27th August, 2013)

In the morning we headed up to Guangzhou by train to meet our third team member, Jason, an engineer from the North of China, who is our new Water Projects Coordinator. After meeting Jason, we boarded the Guangzhou-Kunming train.

DAY 2 (28th August)

We arrived the following day in the late afternoon and stayed one night in Kunming, before heading to World Vision Kunming office to collect a donated water pump.

DAY 3 (29th August)

The pump we collected from World Vision was a Green and Carter ram pump, which uses water pressure to power the pump rather than electricity. This type of pump can be used near a river to supply water for domestic or agricultural use.

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Collecting the pump

After collecting the ram pump we went straight up to the village area, bringing with us a quantity of donated clothing.

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Leaving with a vanload of donated clothing

DAY 4 (30th August)

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Another village house with rainwater collection

Walking into the village, we saw a recent installation of guttering on a house, with the work carried out by the owner of the house, the former village chief, using our method and materials we supplied. This former village chief worked with us previously to become familiar with the process, and is now able to carry out this work without any assistance. While we will still sponsor materials, we can see that the process of “teach a man to fish” rather than give him a fish is working well.

We spent the whole day walking through the beautiful forest surrounding the village, pushing a surveyor’s wheel as we walked to measure the distances to each of three springs. We checked the flows from the springs and had ample opportunity to get updated on the water supply situation in the village, which has improved but is still serious and needs further improvement-.

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DAY 5 (31st August)

We spent the day setting up a demonstration installation of the donated RAM pump. In the morning, we headed to the nearby town to purchase materials and worked all afternoon with several villagers, in a shady area which sloped down from the spring we used to supply water for the pump.

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By 7pm the pump was running, and the sturdy Green and Carter pump was pulsing away pumping water uphill.

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The Green and Carter RAM pump in operation

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The RAM pump fully installed

DAY 6 (1st September)

With the pump now operating correctly, the next step was to head to Wuding, a town around 2 hours away, and do a presentation on the ram pump at the World Vision office there. The World Vision team provided a warm welcome and a delicious lunch, and enthusiastically took notes as I shared material on RAM pumps, much of it taken from a UNICEF publication entitled “Use of Hydraulic Rams in Nepal”.

Nepal has abundant water resources and high mountains but poor electricity supply, making ram pumps a viable water supply solution for communities located uphill from a river. For very little cost, and with no use of electricity, water can be pumped directly into a storage tank in a village, saving a huge number of man hours spent carrying water. This translates directly into economic benefit for the whole community due to time saved.

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