Play Pumps - An Engineer's Aspect


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Friday, July 31, 2009

Play Pumps

An Introduction to Play Pumps:

From Wikipedia:
"The PlayPump Water System uses the energy of children at play to operate a water pump. It is manufactured by the South African company Roundabout Outdoor. It operates in a similar way to a windmill-driven water pump.

At a cost of approximately R96,000 (approximately US$14,000), it is suitable for shared use by villages, particularly in areas where water is accessed from deep underground (up to 100 meters) using a bore.

There are more than 1000 PlayPump systems in sub-Saharan Africa, providing clean drinking water to more than one million impoverished people. On September 20, 2006, at the Clinton Global Initiative, First Lady Laura Bush announced a $16.4 million public-private partnership to install more PlayPump systems -- the beginning of an effort to install 4,000 pumps to provide water to up to 10 million people in Africa by 2010. The announcement includes $10 million from the U.S. government, $5 million from the Case Foundation, and $1.4 million from The MCJ Foundation.

Roundabout Playpump is a for profit organisation with a social mission, co-founded by Trevor Field and Playpumps International a non-profit organisation. In 2007 Playpump water system was nominated for the prestigious National Design Award. It is aimed at solving one of the most pressing problems of clean water in semi-urban and rural areas of Africa - Water.

Field left his well paying job with FGM to start this initiative. He was disturbed to see the water problems and the fact that women and girl child had to often trek distances of 8 kms to collect water from their nearest sources. The idea took seed when he saw a model developed by Ronnie Styver in 1989 in an agricultural fair in Pretoria.

By 2008 Field has succeeded in installing 1000 playpumps in 5 countries in Southern Africa and has an objective of installing 4000 Playpumps by 2010 in around 10 African countries."

The Problem and a Creative Solution:

How the Play Pump System Works:

According to Play Pumps International,
"While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round (1), clean water is pumped (2) from underground (3) into a 2,500-liter tank (4), standing seven meters above the ground.

A simple tap (5) makes it easy for adults and children to draw water. Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the borehole (6).

The water storage tank (7) provides a rare opportunity to advertise in outlaying communities. All four sides of the tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two sides for health and educational messages. The revenue generated by this unique model pays for pump maintenance.

The design of the PlayPump water system makes it highly effective, easy to operate and very economical, keeping costs and maintenance to an absolute minimum.

Capable of producing up to 1,400 liters of water per hour at 16 rpm from a depth of 40 meters, it is effective up to a depth of 100 meters."

If you are an undergraduate interested in a PlayPump International paid internship, apply by August 1st, 2009. Follow this link!

Follow Play Pumps on Twitter!

Join PlayPumps International on Facebook!

If you are interested in educating some younger people about Play Pumps, National Geographic Kids has a great page.

Check out Play Pumps on Frontline.