A treadle pump is a human-powered pump designed to lift water from a depth of seven meters or less. A treadle is a lever device pressed by the foot to drive a machine, in this case a pump. The treadle pump can do most of the work of a motorized pump, but costs considerably less (75%) to purchase. Because it needs no fossil fuel (it is driven by the operator's body weight and leg muscles), it can also cost less (50%) to operate than a motorized pump. It can lift five to seven cubic meters of water per hour from wells and boreholes up to seven meters deep and can also be used to draw water from lakes and rivers. Most treadle pumps used are of local manufacture, as they are simple and inexpensive to build.
In some areas, the treadle pump can greatly increase the income that farmers generate from their land, both by extending the traditional growing season and by expanding the types of crops that can be cultivated.
Standard treadle pumps are suction pumps, and were first developed in the early 1980s in Bangladesh. Most treadle pumps manufactured in Africa are pressure treadle pumps, a modification to the original design that means water is forced out of the pump under pressure. Pressure treadle pumps are more versatile, as they allow farmers to pump water uphill, over long distances, or to elevated tanks.
- The treadle pump - An irrigation technology adapted to the needs of small farmers - Description and analysis at the International Programme for Research in Irrigation and Drainage
- Ashden Award, 2006 Finalist media summary - award given to International Development Enterprises (IDEI), India, for their work in developing treadle pump technology.Template:Agri-stub
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