Water lifting devices: Hand pumps

1. Hand pumps: Rope pump Model 1

Rope pump on a Hand drilled tube well of 25 meters deep. including an apron and soak away.

Rope pump Model 1 on a hand dug well. Note the 4 inch pipe is high to avoid water entering the well in case of flooding.
All maintenance can be done via this pipe


Rope pumps have a wheel, a rope and washers to lift the water.

Advantages compared to Afridev pumps

  • – 3 to 5 times cheaper
  • – Simpler in construction
  • – Easier to install and repair
  • – Local production so low cost spares are available
  • – Fit for small communities
  • – Can be an option where Afridev pumps are too expensive

Disadvantages compared to Afridev pumps

  • – Is not fit for large communities, max. number of users 150
  • – Requires more frequent maintenance.
  • – Has less “Hi-tech” look
  • – Is a semi open pump so water in the well could be contaminated by the rope.

(Studies indicate that in similar wells, and good quality pump and installation, the water quality from a Rope pump is hardly less than water quality from piston pumps like an Afridev pump.)


  • Rope pumps can pump from wells of 1 to 35 meters deep
  • Fits on any size hand dug well and Tube wells with casings of 2 to 6 inch
  • Pump capacity; 0 – 10m deep-35 l/min, 10 – 20m deep-18 l/min, 20- 35m deep-9 l/min
  • Cost : 100 – 130 US$ (Off workshop . Well cover ca 40 US$)

2. Hand pumps: Rope pump Model 2

Rope pump model 2 installed at a family in Mzuzu

Rope pump model 2

A Wheel cover is optional


Rope pump model 2 is an economic version of Model 1

Advantages of Model 2 compared to model 1

  • – 30% cheaper
  • – The pump can be bought in Steps. The wheel cover is optional and can be bought later on when the family has funds later on
  • – All parts are galvanised pipes
  • – All parts are welded, no bolts
  • – Is easier, faster  to produce

Disadvantages of Model 2 compared to Model 1

  • – When bushings are worn out the   whole pump has to be taken to   the  workshop
  • – If handle is ½”pipe, it is less sturdy than a handle of  ¾”


  • Rope pump model 2 has the same features as Model 1
  • Cost : 70 – 90 US$  (Off workshop. Metal wheel cover ca 15 US$ )
  • Producers: Info at all SMART Centre

3. Hand pumps: Rope pump Model 3

Rope pump model 3 installed on a hand dug well

Model 3 installed without a well cover.

Model 3, handle mounted 1.3 meter high to fill up a water tank of 0.9 meter high. Note the platform


Rope pump model 3 is mounted on poles and is the most  economic version Rope pump

Advantages of Model 3 compared to Model 2

  • – 15% cheaper
  • – Does not have a wheel cover (the wheel cover is optional)
  • – Can be mounted on any size of well
  • – Can be installed without a well cover
  • – Is easier to produce, install.
  • – Handle can be mounted at 1 meter or higher to fill up a water tank.

Disadvantages of Model 3 compared to Model 2

  • – Requires wood poles.
  • – The wood poles need to be good quality and /or treated against termites or rotting.
  • – In loose soil, the poles start moving if not set in concrete
  • – Looks less Hi Tech


  • Rope pump Model 3 has the same features as other Rope pump models
  • It is a first step model and can be installed without a well cover
  • If money is available a Well and / or wheel cover can be bought
  • Fits on any hand dug well and Tube well with casings of 2 to 6 inch
  • Cost: 50 – 70 US$ (Off workshop, Excl. well cover)
  • Producers: Info at all SMART Centre

4. Hand pumps: Canzee pump

A Canzee Pump


The Canzee pump is a direct action and high quality hand pump

Advantages compared to Rope Pumps

  • – The metal parts like pump rod is stainless steel so no corrosion
  • – Only one washer instead of many washers

Disadvantages compared to Rope Pumps

  • – A bit more expensive
  • – Needs costly tools like a lathe for production
  • – Needs some special parts like stainless steel
  • – Needs a centralised production. Rope pumps can be produced decentralised with tools that are available in most blacksmith workshops.


  • Can pump from wells of 10 – 20 meters deep
  • Can be installed on hand dug well or tube wells with diameters of 4 to 6 inch
  • Cost;10 m deep well: 120 – 150 US$ (off workshop)
  • Producers; Wells for Zoe. SMART Centre Malawi

5. Hand pumps: EMAS pump

EMAS pump installed at a family in Nicaragua.

EMAS Pump with a hose on the outlet
It can pump water to tanks up to 20 meters high


EMAS pump is a small diameter piston pump with a pump rod of a PVC pipe The water is lifted inside this pipe

Advantages of the EMAS pump compared to Rope pumps

  • – 10 to 30% cheaper than Model 1
  • – Simpler in construction
  • – Can lift water up to 20 meters high so can fill up elevated water tanks on a stand or a roof
  • – Fits in a very small Tube well so can be combined with low cost tube wells
  • – Can be produced with local materials

Disadvantages of the EMAS pump compared to Rope pumps

  • – It has an up and down movement which some people do not like
  • – Has 20-30% lower pump capacity
  • – Plastic parts becomes brittle in sunlight over time, and needs regular replacement
  • – Is not widely known in Malawi so needs training and a critical mass to scale up


  • EMAS pumps are used in Bolivia ( 30.000 installed)
  • EMAS pumps can pump from wells of 1 to 35 meters deep
  • Fits on hand dug wells and Tube wells with casings as small as 5 inch
  • Pump capacity; 0 – 10m deep-25 l/min, 10 – 35m deep-15 l/min
  • Cost : 50 – 70 US$ (Off workshop)
  • Producers: Info SMART Centre Tanzania
simonWater lifting devices: Hand pumps