Here is another story from the Phillipines for the Source Story Contst 2010, submited by Auke Idzinga, Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation.
Many upland communities in the world have problems in accessing sources of water. However often springs, streams and rivers can be found below the villages. Elevation differences between source and the village result in small volumes (often only a few gallons) of water available. In the Philippines, where our local NGO called Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc (AIDFI) is based, this is not different. In many instances villagers have to go down 100 meters to fetch water. This lead to many problems: time is spent for fetching water, kids easily stay absent from school, many skin diseases and diarrhoea cases, elder people paying for the fetching of water, hardly any livestock, vegetable growing only during raining season etc. In Caliban, a sitio of Murcia, Merly Alojado a beneficiary of the ram pump said that water before was like gold for them, difficult to get.
There are many kinds of pumps: electric, fuel, solar, wind and manual operated. To make the supply of water to the villages or farms sustainable, we have to look at the appropriateness of each pump. All have advantages or disadvantages. But as long there is free flowing water, the hydraulic ram pump outdoes all. The ram pump is a device which utilizes the energy contained in a flow of water and which pushes a portion of that water to very high elevations. For every meter fall, the ram can push the water 30 times higher. The ram operates automatically 24 hours a day and has very simple spare parts. Operation, repair and maintenance can be done locally after training in the technology.
The ram pump is an old existing technology and in fact exists for over two hundred years, but despite the unbelievable principle it never spread. The reason for that is wrong timing in history: interest was only in big machines made possible because of cheap fuel and electricity. Therefore there are only antique models available which are hard to find, expensive to buy and the alternative models developed by Universities and Appropriate Technologies, which are prone to high maintenance and repair and limited in capacity. (more…)