MAKE SURE YOUR HAND PUMP CAN HANDLE THE COLD

Simple Pump is simply better in the cold than any other hand pump. See how the Simple Pump has design features that protect your water and your well water pump from freezing.

People in every state use the Simple Pump hand pumps and motor-operated pumps in the winter, even without a pump house. Simple Pumps hand pumps are operated trouble-free in Alaska, in the Colorado Rockies at 9000 feet, and in the coldest parts of the Midwest.

“I installed the pump this Fall at 11,000 feet and it is now working during the coldest part of the year!” ~Colorado

HOW SIMPLE PUMP HANDLES FREEZING WEATHER

Your Simple Pump will be freeze-proof in one of two ways, depending on your well, with our pitless adaptor or pumping above ground with a weep hole.

THE SIMPLE PUMP PITLESS ADAPTOR

If you have a well with a submersible pump on a pitless (running your pipes and wiring underground), or if you are installing a Simple Pump into a new well, the Simple Pump pitless adaptor allows you to connect directly to an underground line. In this case, your water will run below the freezing level.

With a Bison, Baker, and other pump manufacturers, this is not an option. In fact, there is no other hand pump that offers a pitless option.

THE SIMPLE PUMP WEEP HOLE

For simplicity and lower cost, most people choose to have their backup pump run water above ground. In this circumstance, your Simple Pump won’t freeze thanks to a small, built-in “weep hole”. This 1/16 inch hole, drilled in the top drop pipe, allows the water in the pump-head to drain out to below the frost line. The weep hole is exactly the right size to drain water fast enough that it won’t freeze.

If your frost line is lower than 4 feet, we will happily create a custom weep hole for you at no extra cost.

PUMPING INTO PRESSURE

Additionally, if you want to pump into your home’s pressure tank, Simple Pump’s one-way check valve can let air in behind the valve, allowing water to drain out of the pump head in freezing weather. 

SIMPLE PUMP’S ADDITIONAL SAFEGUARDS FROM FREEZING

Whether you have a pitless adaptor or are pumping above ground, you can further protect against freezing by leaving the handle pointing up after use. By doing this the stainless steel pump rod is kept ice-free inside the pump head.

Now that you know your options with the Simple Pump, compare our anti-freeze protection with our closest competitor — the Bison. 

BISON PUMPS LACK OF FREEZE PROOF OPTIONS

NO PITLESS ADAPTOR OPTION

First, Bison has no pitless option to allow you to run your water underground from your hand pump to your home. So your choice to do this is immediately removed.

But perhaps you don’t want to put your hand pump on a pitless. For pumping above ground, the Simple Pump has other advantages. Just two of these are:

  1. Drill your own weep hole

For the above-ground system, you will need a weep hole, as you do with the Simple Pump. But if you buy a Bison Pump, you’re going to have to drill your own weep-hole before you install it.

From Bison’s website…” Prior to installing the last piece of pipe and rod, drill a 1/8″ weep hole in the pipe just below where the frost line is for your area. … * This does not apply for inline hand pumps where freezing may occur.”

So Bison inline pumps can’t be freeze-proofed and YOU have to do the work if you get one of their other pumps. Aside from the tricky job of having to drill your own weep hole on the curved pipe, there’s another huge disadvantage with the Bison “do-it-yourself” freeze-proofing — reduced efficiency.

  1. The size makes a difference here

Simple Pump’s much smaller weep hole equals considerably greater pumping efficiency.

Simple Pump’s weep hole is 1/16 inch. Bison Pumps recommends you drill a 1/8 inch hole. That’s FOUR TIMES the area of the Simple Pump weep hole.

The size difference between the two holes means a significant difference in the amount of pressure you need to exert on the pump handle when you are pumping water! The amount of pressure loss due to the large weep hole in the Bison means you would certainly notice a difference in pumping water from your well.

Aside from Simple Pump’s ability to handle freezing weather, check out the other advantages of a Simple Pump water pump system.

BEING ABLE TO DEPEND ON YOUR WATER PUMP MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Spanning parts of Namibia and South Africa, the Succulent Karoo is a desert. And yet, it is home to over 5,000 species of plants, nearly half of which are found only there! This is a diversity unequaled by any other desert in the world.

Even though the area is literally desert, regular winter rains provide enough moisture to support the region’s diverse plant community. The critical factor is that, unlike any in other desert areas, rainfall, while low, is regular and reliable.

DEMONSTRATING THE KAROO EFFECT IN AN AFRICAN VILLAGE

A study by a Stanford University multidisciplinary team showed that mechanized water delivery transformed villages with malnourished children into net exporters of food. The only differences between villages with improvements and control villages with no improvements were reliable water pumps, and low-cost drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation does not require great quantities of water but depends on reliable water delivery. In practice, most hand water-well pumps in Africa are made to a single old standard and are uniformly unreliable. A 2007 survey across 21 nations showed the likelihood of a pump being broken down and standing unused was 36%!

Just as reliably-supplied water makes the Succulent Karoo lush beyond any other desert, merely adding reliable water access and cheap drip irrigation can do the same thing for rural African villagers.

SO WHAT DOES AFRICA HAVE TO DO WITH YOU?

RELIABLE water supply is the central and critical factor. Yes, the Simple Pump offers you excellent value, deeper reach than other hand pumps, and many other unique or special features. But central to it all, what you want — be it for a 3-day power outage due to a snowstorm, or for something much longer and much worse — is UNMATCHED RELIABILITY.

Proven principles, brought into a space-age pump – made with computer-driven precision from top-grade materials…… Reliability IS Everything.

MANY PEOPLE LACK ACCESS TO SAFE DRINKING WATER

According to a 2010 report coauthored by WHO and UNICEF, 900 million people do not have access to safe supply of drinking water. From recent World Health Organization (WHO) reports, the impact of diarrhoeal disease on children is greater than the combined impact of HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis, and malaria; several different reports conclude that provision of improved sanitation and drinking water could reduce diarrhoel diseases by nearly 90%.

As you would expect, access to a safe supply of drinking water is an absolute prerequisite to solving sanitation problems.

DEVASTATING IMPACT

The economic impact is profound. In poor rural areas, women and girls spend, on average, 15 to 17 hours per week collecting water. Poor children around the world miss 443 million days of school each year because of water-related illnesses. In 60 countries in the developing world, more than half of primary schools have no adequate water facilities and nearly two thirds lack adequate sanitation. close to half of all people in developing countries suffer from health problems resulting from a lack of water and sanitation.

Clean Water in Developing Nations

Per the GLAAS 2010 report (footnote), “Increasing people’s access to sanitation and drinking water brings large benefits to the development of individual countries through improvements in health outcomes and the economy.”

The fertility rate is the average number of children a woman will have during her lifetime. It is universally acknowledged that a high birthrate is a major factor perpetuating poverty in the world’s poorest. While many debate the means by which the fertility rate of the poorest should be reduced, one statistical relationship points to a solution.

Macroeconomic research shows that just somewhat higher living standards, and the better communications and more education that come with them, enable those escaping poverty to rely on markets and public services, not just themselves and their family.

As a result, fertility starts to drop at an annual income per person of $1,000-2,000 and falls until it hits the replacement level at an income per head of $4,000-10,000 a year. This roughly tracks the passage from poverty to middle-income status and from an agrarian society to a modern one. Thereafter fertility continues at or below replacement until, for some, it turns up again.

The amazing thing is that this is true across all societies, and even for poor regions in otherwise above-subsistence countries.

Consider, then, the potential impact of taking back the 15 to 17 hours per week that poor women and girls spend collecting water. It would substantially boost the productivity of over half of the entire population.

HANDPUMP RELIABILITY – A MAJOR PART OF THE PROBLEM

In his recent essay, Edward D. Breslin, CEO, Water for People, says it best, “But the images that dominate – pictures of children happily gulping water from a new tap – do not tell the whole story. The real image should be the one that plays itself out every day all over the world — of the woman walking slowly past a broken handpump, bucket at her side or on her head, on her way to (or from) that scoop hole or dirty puddle that she once hoped would never again be part of her life… The broken handpump is a constant reminder of our inability to escape poverty.”

SIMPLE PUMP CAN HELP

As will be explained in more detail, by any measure, the hand pumps deployed in the developing world are quite unreliable. All the data we have show that Simple Pumps are many times more reliable.

The initial purchase price of the currently-used pumps is significantly less than a Simple Pump. Therefore, many find it surprising that, compared to the pumps currently deployed in developing nations, Simple Pumps are several times less expensive to buy, install and operate, if total costs over the useful life of both pumps is considered.

Many factors will determine whether much of the world’s destitute will be able to escape subsistence-level poverty. However, it is inescapable that such an achievement will depend upon dramatically improving the reliability of handpumps, and therefore the availability of clean water. We expect that, when you know the facts, the Simple Pump will be the obvious choice.

FOOTNOTE TO THIS PAGE:
1. GLAAS 2010, UN Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water, released April, 2010; World Health Organization & Institute for Water, Environment and Health, UN University.

THE DREAM OF SIMPLE PUMP’S FOUNDER — MANUFACTURING THE PUMP IN DEVELOPING NATIONS

Simple Pump’s founder, Greg Burns, sold Simple Pump to pursue a dream. His goal: Bring Simple Pump CNC machining to Africa. So, he packed up two large CNC machining tables and went there. These were so large that the two machines filled a standard-size shipping container.

When he got to Africa, he encountered all the usual problems of corruption. Undeterred, he opened a manufacturing facility using the equipment that had just arrived. However, he was never able to get the shop to our high standards of commercial-quality production because of the low quality of electric power.

The grid went down frequently. So he bought a number of generators to address short outages. The part that could not be overcome was how “dirty” the power was when it was working. The frequency of the power delivered was so variable that an untrained ear could hear the motors that drove the cutting tools revving up and down with its fluctuations. To put it mildly, this is not a recipe for precision machining.

Many of the Simple Pump’s advantages lie in its precision manufacture. Lighter weight, high efficiency, dramatic reliability, easy of installation, ease of use and ease of maintenance all come from precision machining. Without such machining, anything produced is no longer a Simple Pump; it’s merely a crude imitation, probably with similar reliability problems to the incumbents.

After spending a considerable time attempting to make his enterprise work, and investigating whether moving it elsewhere made sense, he concluded that the only way he could meet his own production standards was to build a power plant himself. He actually considered this, but, after much research, decided the project was impractical.

PRECISION MANUFACTURING GENERATES FEW JOBS

There have been some improvements in the quality of power generation and distribution in Africa since Greg’s attempts. In a couple of countries, the reality of clean power generation and distribution in Africa is apparently in place.

However, there is another fundamental issue. The bad news, from the perspective of creating jobs, is that, in order to achieve this the quality of work, machines perform most of it.

There are relatively few people involved with the work at Simple Pump, or for that matter, at our suppliers. All of the manufacturing is done by specialized firms throughout the U.S. West, with the most critical (and expensive) CNC machining performed at a supplier whose work is highly specialized. Their work couldn’t be of a higher level. Theirs is an aerospace-class plant, creating high-end parts for jet engines, US Navy submarines, the NEWT deep-sea diving suit, and the space-roving Canadarm.
(You can more here – https://www.simplepump.com/WHY-SIMPLE-PUMP/Manufacturing.html).

So manufacturing Simple Pumps does not generate much demand for labor — and the demand that is required must be very highly skilled. This makes the current obstruction of “must be manufactured locally” doubly illogical.

TRADING EMPLOYMENT FOR SOME, AGANIST DESTITUING FOR MANY OTHERS

A recent Stanford study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that it required only a very RELIABLE pump and an inexpensive drip irrigation system to transform African villages with malnourished children (six months of the year) into net exporters of food with children that were well-nourished all year around. That means that the application of just one superior technology, and a bit of irrigation knowledge, is ALL that is required to move entire villages from destitute to more than 20% above subsistence income. We do not think that local employment should be the central consideration when so much is at stake.

FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS

But even more at stake than the reliable delivery of water, there is also cost. When the TOTAL COST of providing well water is considered, Simple Pump cuts the total cost of delivering drinking water in half. Include all the costs, including the construction of the well (including drilling). Because a smaller casing is required, cutting the cost of drilling by up to two-thirds, the initial cost of acquisition is half that of any other hand pump. So, even if dramatically higher reliability, lower costs to install, and lower costs to repair and maintained are put aside for the moment, just the delivery of a well equipped with a Simple Pump is dramatically cheaper. Therefore, if local manufacture is mandated, not only is unreliable access to water a result, dramatically higher, costs to deliver that water is, too!

We believe that “local employment” should NOT be the central consideration it now is. Clean water and jobs are both desirable. But they are not equally important. And it is past time to admit that having a clean, reliable water supply comes well before and is much more important than jobs created essentially by mandate. Making “local manufacturing” a prerequisite to doing business prevents the adoption of dramatically better technology, precisely because new technologies remove manual labor, when doing so improves quality dramatically.

Water will provide a foundation that allows jobs – but the water, and the life it gives – need to come first. Reliable water supply needs to be made the central sacrosanct “North Star” — THE central goal around which planning is done and strategic decisions are made.

CHANGING BASIC CONCEPTS IN DEVELOPING NATIONS

Our customers in Africa no longer see a single hand pump for a village as necessarily the most economical approach or most effective approach.

They have told us that acquiring three of our very reliable pumps, installed into far cheaper-to-drill two-inch wellbores, and with much less costly site prep and spares costs, offer far more benefits, at a lower cost, than one centrally-located high-cost-to-drill large-borehole well.

The most obvious benefit is the peace of mind from knowing that if one breaks, water will still be available.

A pump placed to service irrigation or watering herds can later be converted later to solar, with nothing more required than a manual and a few tools.The Simple Pump generates 50 psi. So it generates the pressure required for indoor plumbing. Similarly, it can be used to provide the water under pressure required for drip and other sophisticated and frugal water delivery methods.

However, to even consider applications like this, the fundamental and long-standing assumption that must change is that hand pumps are inherently unreliable and, once broken, extraordinarily labor-intensive to repair.

The “unreliable” paradigm is simply not true. The Simple Pump is enormously better made and is much more reliable than the unreliable pumps most people think are all that is available.

Furthermore, “cheap” usually holds many hidden costs (as most people really know, in their own lives). The next page explores, in detail, how the best decision comes from considering ALL cost and risk factors – initial cost PLUS maintenance, parts, labor, and health.

INITIAL COST OR TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP?

COMPARING SIMPLE PUMP TO OTHER PUMPS

Simple Pump compares VERY favorably to other US-made well pumps — in price, materials, and reliability. But India Mark II/III/VLOM and AFRIDEV hand water pumps are ubiquitous in the developing world. Some NGOs have dismissed the Simple Pump as an alternative. They regard it as “too expensive”, by which they mean that they consider the initial cost of acquisition too high.

BUT IS THE INITIAL COST THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS?

We would respectfully suggest that many other factors are critical. And, in fact, the “initial cost” approach is not at all the best for well-managed entities to use when they procure equipment.

The following total cost of ownership (TCO) comparison of Simple Pump to the Mark II/III/VLOM pumps outlines additional these critical factors to consider.

TRUE DOLLAR COSTS FOR A HAND PUMP

PURCHASE COST

In buying any pump, the cost of parts for normal maintenance in the foreseeable future must be reckoned as part of the purchase. According to a project approved by seven water NGO peers at Peerwater.org, including one from CARE, the cost of spares to sustainably maintain Mark II/III/VLOM pumps is estimated at $590 (1). Comparable costs for the Simple Pump are in the tens of dollars. This extra cost of spare parts, alone, eliminates the apparent savings seen when solely comparing the initial acquisition costs.

SITE PREPARATION COSTS

THE INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE MANUAL FOR THE AFRIDEV HANDPUMP SAYS:

“The construction of a platform (or slab) at the wellhead is an important contribution to the general hygiene in a community. In addition to discouraging the accumulation of stagnant water at the surface, the slab will help to prevent the contamination of the well through the infiltration of dirty water back into the aquifer.”

THE ADVICE IS SIMILAR FOR MARK II/III/VLOM PUMPS.

While we would never say that anyone approach to site preparation should be used universally, our experience shows that most of the time, our pump, anchored firmly to a metal well casing, in a wellbore of some depth, avoids contamination problems. Unlike very wide-mouth hand-dug wells, water that pools near such a deeper wellbore, and its well casing holding the Simple Pump, has no better chance of contaminating the aquifer than does a pool 20 meters away.

The Mark II/III/VLOM and AFRIDEV pumps, by design, MUST be sunk into concrete. Yet, if in many situations, the cement platform is not required when installing a Simple Pump, the platform is a cost paid solely for AFRIDEV pump installation.

DRILLING COSTS

The cost of drilling a wellbore for a four-inch casing, the smallest-diameter casing used for the Mark II/III/VLOM, is around 3.5 times the cost of drilling a well bore for the two-inch well casing required by a Simple Pump. This extra cost, alone, can easily swamp the apparent savings seen when solely comparing the acquisition costs.

For example, Lifewater.org Canada had published drilling costs over five countries. $3,000 was the lowest cost estimate per well. Therefore, conservatively, drilling costs for a wellbore for a Simple Pump could cut $2,000 from the cost of drilling one well!

A number of studies cited at the Rural Water Supply Network Community site show overall water hand pump project costs for Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Kenya between $6,000 and $11,700. Two studies, for Burkina Faso and Senegal, estimate the average cost of borehole construction without the pump. The costs were $46.34/foot, or $3,200, for a 70-foot well in Burkina Faso, with Senegal’s average cost more than three times higher.

There are some geological formations in which the four-inch wellbore typically drilled for the Simple Pump’s two-inch casing is not practical. One example is much of Tanzania, where the formations are so sandy that a four-inch wellbore collapses. However, a four-inch wellbore drilled for the Simple Pump’s smaller two-inch casing is workable for most wells in most geological formations in Africa.

Therefore, the apparent saving for the initial purchase of a Mark II/III/VLOM pump is offset by costs many times that to drill a borehole for a four-inch casing, rather than for Simple Pump’s two-inch diameter casing. THIS ONE FACTOR has already countered the initial apparent savings.

TRANSPORT AND INSTALLATION COSTS

Simple Pump’s 95-130 pounds shipping weight, including PVC, means that transport of the pump to the well bore is much less expensive; a comparable representative Mark II weight is 330 lbs. Because of its heavyweight, three men are required to install a Mark II pump. As these videos show, one man can install a Simple Pump quite easily.

The ease of installation has been demonstrated repeatedly. In the words of one of our customers who installed our pump in Africa:

“Having never installed a water pump, I was looking for something that was not going to take a rocket scientist to be able to understand the directions… We were able to finish in less than an hour without any major problems.”

RELIABILITY AS A CRITICAL PURCHASE FACTOR

EXPERIENCE WITH MARK II/III/VLOM PUMPS

In general, when lever-arm pumps fail in Africa, the infrastructure is not in place to get parts to the well at all quickly. Then, even if parts can be procured, arranging for repair can consume more time. We are told that the typical unit of measure for time to repair is months.

According to our contacts, 25 – 75 percent of Mark II/III pumps are broken at any given time. The Rural Water Supply Network’s Work Plan (January 2009 – December 2011) includes data on the percentage of non-functioning pumps across 21 African nations; on average, 36% of all hand pumps across those nations are not functioning.

The cost of downtime must also be figured into TCO, both in terms of labor time, and in terms in repercussions.

On labor cost: There is no way to provide even a rough estimate downtime costs, but the costs per hour per villager do not have to be very high to make this factor significant.

On repercussions: Citing one incident we heard about: A local micro-economy was hit hard by the failure of their primary source of water due to a broken pump. The costs were quite high because the failure happened in a critical part of the growing season. Even when there is another source of water during the pump’s downtime, transporting water from the alternate source, to where it is needed, also imposes significant costs in terms of hours lost.

RELIABILITY OF SIMPLE PUMP DEVICES

For those who understand modern manufacturing techniques, it is clear that Simple Pump devices would be dramatically more reliable.

The data we have on pump failure is consistent with this expectation. We know of no pump of ours that has outright failed in the first five years. In contrast to this record, some consider the TOTAL effective useful life of a Mark II/III/VLOM to be five years! The Simple Pump has a 50-year useful life.

Over 200 Simple Pumps have been installed in several Canadian solid waste landfills where the Simple Pump is pumping silt-laden garbage water as part of methane recovery operations. These pumps operate 24/7/365 and have been doing so for the past 2-1/2 years with minimal reliability issues. Pump cylinder, drop pipe kits with lift rods, and rod guides used in this application are the same used with Simple Pump hand pumps. The difference is just that each is driven constantly by a 12-volt DC motor.

Over 150 Simple Pumps (model ADA100) have been installed in National Parks and Forests throughout the USA. This model is, officially, “Americans with Disabilities Act compliant”. The US Forest Service will not approve any pump for installation into the national park system unless it has a 50-year useful life. Three pumps have experienced problems, externally caused. One was beaten with a baseball bat by an angry teenager, one was shot by a high-powered rifle and one was run over by a pick-up truck. The one run over by the pick-up truck was not operable. The other two continued to function despite the abuse.

Although there is not, yet, extensive systematic field data on Simple Pump reliability, Simple Pump continues to offer its unconditional five-year guarantee on parts, without a single request for replacement to date.

TIME TO MAINTAIN

The cost of villager time to repair a pump should be considered. For Simple Pump, one experienced person, or at most two adults of any stature, can install, or perform once-in-five-years maintenance, in at most two hours. The seals required can fit in a small drawer.

Compare this to any installation or maintenance of Mark II/III/VLOM or AFRIDEV pumps. We have been told by experienced field workers that maintenance of such pumps requires either a heavy lifting rig or manual labor of several individuals that can easily stretch over days. And the equipment needed requires a truck to move!

ADDED RISK AND COST TO CONSIDER: IRON CONTENT LEACHED FROM GALVANIZED IRON PUMPS

Most Mark II/III/VLOM hand water pumps are installed with galvanized iron that makes contact with the water being pumped. When the water is acidic, the risk to people’s health is increased.

A conversation with a groundwater treatment expert who had just returned from a developing nation left us initially mystified. He mentioned that, although the water from pumps was safe to drink (when the pumps were not in disrepair), the people used water from pumps for every purpose except drinking water.

A paper on iron removal from drinking water then identified the likely reason well water was not being consumed.

FIRST, THE PAPER NOTES

“As a drinking water source groundwater is often considered as better than surface water because it does not contain harmful pathogens and generally does not need treatment. However, in many locations it contains iron, either from geological formations or from iron pump components. Iron is not harmful to health, but causes people to reject the borehole water, mainly because it tastes bad and stains clothes, containers and skin. When this happens in rural areas in developing countries people return to drinking surface water and this can result in disease and death, especially for young children.”

THAT SAME PAPER CITES A UNICEF ENGINEER, SAYING THAT

“…experience from hundreds of iron removal plants in India show that [galvanized iron] causes bacterial oxidation and reduction cycles to take place which result in increased iron concentrations in the outlet water. This problem can be eliminated by replacing the GI parts with PVC and stainless steel…”

Data from that engineer’s three-year study of nine Mark II pumps showing iron levels mostly below the World Health’s Organization’s (WHO) 0.3mg/liter guideline maximum for pumps using PVC in lieu of galvanized iron. Those without the PVC-for-galvanized-iron replacement were substantially more likely to be significantly over the WHO standard, and therefore to produce bad-tasting water.

Some manufacturers of Mark II/III/VLOM pumps offer PVC parts as pipe options, promoting the merits of it use rather than galvanized iron. From one manufacturer’s site, using words we could have written to express one of Simple Pump’s advantages,

“The Stainless Steel Advantage: While the initial cost of SS component could be 3-5 times higher than its MS/Gun Metal/CI counterpart, it more than pays for itself in no downtime cost…”

Ironic! The apparent savings in the initial purchase are, again, eliminated, this time by the cost of actually making the drinking water palatable and safe.

The situation is exacerbated if the groundwater to be pumped is at all acidic. It is then predictable that iron will leach from the galvanized iron used in most Mark II/III/VLOM pumps. Just as current NGO procurements emphasize minimizing up-front payments to the detriment of overall project costs, whether proper water testing is performed prior to pump installation can be hit or miss. The failure to ensure adequate funding for this expertise is a risk imposed by the use of Mark II/III/VLOM pumps, and therefore an additional cost to account for.

On the other hand, Simple Pump is made completely from lead-free components that are Safe Drinking Water Act compliant. All metal parts that make contact with water are stainless steel and are manufactured precisely using computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines. The pump rods are high tensile fiberglass and the drop pipe is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) schedule 120. The only metal making contact with the water is completely lead-free, CNC-machined stainless steel.

IN SUMMARY

THE BOTTOM LINE

To fully appreciate the Simple Pump, long-standing assumptions must be reexamined.

Because water is so critical to any community, for both sanitation and agriculture, total cost of ownership, including drilling costs, maintenance costs, safety of materials used and the risk of prolonged downtime, should be considered.

A dramatically more reliable pump can improve many aspects of daily life and allow communities to consider projects that are unthinkable now without a reliable source of water.


FOOTNOTES TO “INITIAL COST OR TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP?”

1 According to a project approved by seven water NGO peers at Peerwater.org, including one from CARE. On the upper right of that page is the “Application Summary” that shows “Status: Approved Accepted”. Notice the project description on this page.

Specifically, about halfway down, it says “One Repairs kit for the Chiefdom, maintenance kits for thirty villages and India Mark II pumps.” This and other text makes it clear that the project is solely for maintenance for 30 pumps in 30 villages. Toward the bottom of the page, where it says “Budget Details” is a link to a budget file (click on the Microsoft Excel icon). At the page, click “Download” to view the project details in an Excel file.

[Unfortunately, they have the encoding of the file mixed up. If you download it, you will have a file called Budget.xls.dot. In other words, it has Excel AND Word Template file extensions. Just remove the .dot, double click, and it will open in Excel.]In the Budget, on line 113, in the far right column, is the U.S. dollar-denominated cost of solely the equipment (spares) – not including the how-to-maintain and fix training – for thirty wells: $17,663.79.

A CLEAN, RELIABLE WATER SUPPLY — OR LOCAL MANUFACTURING

SIMPLE PUMP LICENSING

For many NGOs, the creation of local jobs is a prerequisite for doing business. Therefore, when discussing the possible use of the Simple Pump in the developing world, we are frequently asked if we license manufacturing in developing countries. To date, we do not. That’s not to say it could never happen. But if it ever does, it won’t be in the near future. Here are the reasons why:

First — we already tried, and it didn’t work. At the time, it was not technologically viable, because of very poor generation and distribution of electricity. Precision machining is simply not possible under those conditions. Recently, the quality of electricity delivered in a couple of African countries has approached the quality required, but this is still not so in most locations.

Further, even if Simple Pump was licensed for local manufacturing in a country with a quality power grid, very few jobs would be added to the local economy. The idea of creating local jobs has no substance, in the case of this type of product.

LOCAL MANUFACTURE OF PUMPS DOESN’T WORK

This is heresy in much of the NGO world, where the idea of “local manufacture” is sacrosanct. But “local manufacture” of well water pumps has had a run of several decades. Billions of dollars worth of pumps produced in the name of this concept are in place, throughout Africa and India, and THE MODEL IS NOT WORKING.

There are many people who are employed making very unreliable hand-operated well pumps. The shockingly high percentage of non-functioning hand pumps has been well documented, in several studies. The Rural Water Supply Network’s Work Plan (January 2009 – December 2011) includes the results of a 2007 pump survey spanning twenty-one African nations. At any given time, THIRTY-SIX PERCENT OF INSTALLED PUMPS WERE NOT FUNCTIONING! In other words, after all the hard work and expenses, there was, on average, more than a 1 in 3 chance that the well would sit unused, because of a broken pump. And almost all of those pumps are of the India Mark II/III – Afridev – VLOM family.

Now, is it more important to make highly unreliable pumps whose technology of manufacture calls for the employment of a number of people? Or, is it more important that the poorest villages on earth have the opportunity to catapult themselves out of poverty, solely by virtue of a reliable supply of water?

And, sorry to say, at this point in history, and with what is currently available in developing nations, it is an either/or choice.

THE SIMPLE PUMP WITH SOLAR POWER

PERFORMANCE

A typical submersible pumps a large volume of water really quickly.
This requires many solar panels and batteries.

The Simple Pump is designed to pump over time — requiring far fewer panels and batteries.

RELIABILITY

Our pumps are very cost-effective, in part because our precision manufacturing makes them extraordinarily reliable.

That reliability makes remote and often unattended pumping applications possible.

WORKS IN 2” WELLS

Precision manufacturing, and the materials used, also make our pumps narrow yet strong. The narrow profile cuts the required casing diameter to only two inches.

Drilling costs can be cut by as much as two-thirds.

LIGHT FOR TRANSPORT, EASY TO INSTALL

Hauling the pump to the wellbore is easy. All the parts required to pump from 200 feet weigh only about 130 lbs.

This is MUCH less than seemingly comparable pumps.

The pump is also very easy to install. In the words of one of our customers who installed our pump in a remote location:

“Having never installed a water pump, I was looking for something that was not going to take a rocket scientist to be able to understand the directions. We were able to finish in less than an hour without any problems.”

COMMON WATER PUMPS USED IN WATER WELLS

There are many different types of water pumps that are used in water wells around the world. This post describes the 4 most common types of water well pumps (submersible, lift, jet and suction) and provides advantages and disadvantages of each.

SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS

Submersible pumps are installed in most residential water wells in the United States and economically developed nations. The pump/motor assembly is lowered into residential water wells and pumps water through piping to the surface or just below the frost line. This water is usually routed through piping to a pressure tank for use in the home. The motor in the submersible pump is usually powered by electricity from the grid.

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

LIFT PUMPS

Lift pumps, also commonly called sucker-rod pumps, are usually manually operated. These pumps lift water from a cylinder located below the static water level of the well. The cylinder contains a piston and check valve. A handle located at the surface is mechanically connected to the piston through a set of rods. As the handle is lifted up and down, the piston pumps the water through a series of pipes to the pump head at the surface. These pumps are commonly used as a reliable backup to submersible pumps in many wells across the United States and other economically developed nations. This pump design is also used as a primary water source for villages in developing nations and Homesteaders.

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

JET PUMPS

Jet pumps utilize the venturi effect to pump water from the well. A small centrifugal pump is located outside the well. Some of the water from the centrifugal pump is recirculated to a venturi nozzle in the pump suction line. The recirculated water flowing through the nozzle creates a vacuum in the suction line which draws the water out of the well. Jet pumps require electricity and are commonly used in shallow wells.

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

SUCTION PUMPS (FOR SHALLOW WELLS)

Similar to a jet pump, the pumping action for suction pumps takes place at the surface and not in the well. Suction pumps usually look like hand-operated lift pumps as they have a handle that is lifted up and down to pump water. But unlike a lift pump, the piston is located just below the handle. This piston creates a vacuum that sucks water from the well to the pump head. These pumps are only used for shallow wells.

ADVANTAGES

DISADVANTAGES

RURAL COMMUNITY WATER SUPPLY

A Simple Pump can give rural communities a low-cost, self-sustaining water supply.

SIMPLE PUMP'S ADVANTAGES

Compared to drilling with the 6-inch bit required to install the usual 4″ casing. Therefore, three times as many wells can be dug, for a given amount of money. More wells equal more distributed (convenient) domestic and irrigation use, and greater water security.

Our customers who have installed the Simple Pump in remote locations, such as in Africa, have been happy with its ease of installation.

Spanning parts of Namibia and South Africa, the Succulent Karoo is a desert. And yet, it is home to over 5,000 species of plants, nearly half of which are found only there!

Regular winter rains provide enough moisture to support the region’s diverse plant community. The critical factor is that, unlike any in other desert areas, rainfall, while low, is regular and reliable.

That’s THE key.

A study by a Stanford University multidisciplinary team showed that mechanized water delivery transformed villages with malnourished children into net exporters of food.

The only differences between villages with improvements and control villages with no improvements were RELIABLE water delivery, and drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation does not require great quantities of water, but the supply must be RELIABLE. In practice, most hand water-well pumps in Africa are made to a single old standard and are uniformly unreliable.

A 2007 survey across 21 nations showed the likelihood a pump was broken was 36%!

Simple Pump’s reliability can have life-changing consequences for rural communities.

Initial up-front cost is only part of the picture when making the best decision on a pump’s viability.

See also this section on the critical importance of considering ALL costs and risks, when deciding which pump to buy.

A rural community can gain a boost in health conditions and an economic lift.

These factors make Simple Pump an ideal solution for communities in developing nations.

Contact us about discounts for Section 501(c)(3) organizations!

Simple Pump Provides Off-Grid Living With Reliable Well Pumps

“The feeling of independence is incomparable. Come what may, my family and I will have fresh water. What an AWESOME feeling! Great product, lives up to the claims and worth every penny.”

WHETHER YOU ARE COMPLETELY OFF-GRID NOW OR ARE BUILDING SELF-RELIANCE

For the Off-Grid life, you probably want a pump that you can RELY ON… that is extremely reliable and easy to pump… that is modern and uses the best materials and manufacturing.

That’s the Simple Pump.

PUMP YOUR DAY’S WATER, WITHOUT IT FEELING LIKE A MAJOR WORKOUT

We have made the Simple Pump MUCH easier to pump with than any seemingly comparable hand pump. Even from our maximum of 325′ static water level, the needed effort is still just moderate. No other hand pump can come close to this performance. It’s so easy to pump with that even fairly young children can pump a substantial amount of water in most wells (well… before they get too bored, anyway!).

With our check valve, you can pump right into your pressurized household plumbing system and have use of all your plumbing fixtures. Pumping your pressure tank up to about 45 psi is a breeze.

OR MAKE IT EVEN EASIER WITH ONE OF OUR ADD-ON SOLAR PUMPS

A solar motor can be added to the hand pump — now or at any time in the future.

The super-efficient, 12 or 24v DC Simple Pump motors can run off just one or two solar panels (depending on location)… or off other DC sources.
Six options ranging from the complete, integrated system with panels, stand, and control electronics to a simple motor where you supply the rest.

AND if you then have an emergency with the motor, you can switch back to hand-operation, in only about fifteen minutes! No other hand pump offers this hand-motor-hand conversion option.

WHY SIMPLE PUMP CARES ABOUT CNC MACHINING IN YOUR HAND PUMP?

WHAT IS CNC MACHINING?

A machine tool shapes or cuts metal, plastic, or other materials in a number of ways, including cutting, boring and grinding. Machine tools have been around for centuries.

In the 1980s, computer numerical control (CNC) machines combined computers with some other inventions to revolutionize many industries. A design could be created using CAD (computer-aided design) software, and then, using those electronic instructions, a computer could control the machine tools to create an object EXACTLY as specified… and the same every time.

Once a design is perfected, each copy created from it is identical. This has important implications in efficiency, weight, minimizing friction, and other critical functional parameters.

WHAT CARS WERE LIKE BEFORE CNC MACHINING — AND AFTER

If you were around to close cars doors back in 1980 or earlier, you know that meant (by today’s standards) slamming it. Then, one auto company after another adopted CNC machining for fabrication. After CNC, dramatically less force was required to close a car door. In the middle of this transition, some new car doors closed quite easily, while others remained tough to close. Did you ever say, or have said to you, “No, no; there’s no need to SLAM it!”

Engine and transmission parts also came to be made by computer-directed machinery. The result — cars became far more reliable, lasted many more miles and generated more horsepower from smaller engines.

LIGHTER AND STRONGER IS IMPORTANT FOR HAND PUMPS TOO

Cutting stainless steel parts from billets — essentially steel bricks — is only practical using CNC machining. Fabricating this way makes for much stronger stainless steel than casting (pouring of molten metal). This is why the CNC machined Simple Pump and the Simple Pump’s stainless steel design can be smaller but stronger than competing deep well hand pumps.

EXTRAORDINARY PRECISION

The Simple Pump pistons are CNC-machined food-grade PVC. They move up and down in a stainless steel cylinder that cannot be manufactured any closer to perfect. It has no visually detectable seam. The piston is moved by featherweight lift rods, that are fiberglass rather than steel.

There is so little friction between the piston and the stainless steel cylinder, and the pump handle is so light, that the resting position of the pump handle is up. The piston floats down the cylinder that easily.

SO LITTLE FRICTION AND WEIGHT — SO LITTLE WEAR

Cars doors that needed to be slammed closed were a sign of older manufacturing methods, and shorter useful lives of the car. The same is true today for larger, heavier and harder-to-operate hand pumps.

CNC machining is not a gimmick. It is a sophisticated and well-known technology that, for over two decades, has been part of most of the innovative products you know about. As in other manufacturing, CNC machining offers powerful advantages in a hand pump.