PCP Deep-Well Pump

Test pump at 300 feet

Top to bottom:
1. Prototype of water pump surface drive unit.
2. Installation of down-hole component.
3. Final assembly.
4. Initial testing.
5. Water being pumped at approximately 300 feet.

the problem

Most all of Africa suffers from some kind of clean water access issue, whether it’s water scarcity (lack of water presence) or surface water contamination. In most all of these cases an ICDI deep drilled water well provides the solution: dependable access to clean and safe water. But when is “deep” too deep? Most conventional foot and hand pumps will work fine down to 200 feet (61 meters). A couple will even work at depths of 300 feet (91 meters). But after that there’s no readily available solution for mechanical pumping. This presents a significant problem for those locations where ICDI can drill down to the water, but can’t install any type of non-electric pumping mechanism to bring the water up. Just such a pump actually exists, a PCP or progressive cavity pump, but unfortunately it’s no longer manufactured for drinking water applications.

the solution

A group of volunteer engineers and designers from Design Outreach (www.DOutreach.org) partnered with ICDI to take up the challenge to re-engineer, prototype and test a progressive cavity style mechanical hand pump good for depths from 250 to 500 feet (76 to 152 meters). This pump is built to last much longer than other pumps, be used in new wells applications, and retrofit the thousands of broken pumps littering Africa. In early summer 2011 they tested their first prototype in Kansas and in late summer 2011 took it to the Central African Republic for more field testing. Then, in February 2012, the pump was installed in the village of Yamando and began to pump water from 300 feet (91 meters), providing a long-lasting sustainable solution. This is a hugely important project that stands to help thousands of people in places where you really have to dig deep to get to the water.

the future

Now that the first phase of the project is complete and water is flowing out of the prototype, the team has begun working on the second phase, which entails tweaking the pump for mass production. This will lower the pump costs to make it more available throughout Africa and the world. The team needs financial support to pay for essentials such as materials and limited travel expenses.

donate to Design Outreach here.

If you are interested in learning more about the team or project, please contact Greg Bixler at greg@DOutreach.org.