Farmers bordering high speed streams or rivers can push up to 5000 litres of water a day without incurring any power costs using a Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Hydraulic Ram Pump.
JKUAT renewable energy expert Richard Njihia said the machine, which is also called hydram pump, has been designed to reduce production costs for farmers who can access continuously running water.
“Hydram is a time tested technology that uses the energy of a large amount of water falling from a small height to lifts a part of the liquid to great heights. In this way, water from a spring or stream can be pumped to the village for domestic use, irrigation or any other farm activity on the uphill,” he said.
The power of the pump relies on the height of the falling water. For instance if the fall is one metre in depth, the pump can push water from the base to a height of eight metres.
Njihia, who is also a lecturer at the university, said the pump can push out one out of every 10 litres of water received.
It has alternating valves that allow for continuous inflow and outflow of water.
Since it does not require oil or electricity, the pump is easy to run for farmers as it only requires minimum maintenance after installation.
With reservoirs in the irrigation field or homes, the pump can push water for 24 hours for later use.
The hydrams rage in size, with the smallest pushing 5000 litres per day while others manage up to 20,000 litres over the same period.
The costs range from Sh60,000 to Sh120,000.
Njihia said the pump is a perfect alternative to diesel or electricity, of which if a farmer cannot affor them at a given time, farm activities would stagnate.
The pump is designed and manufactured by JKUAT under the JICA-JKUAT Bright Project.
PHOTO: A JKUAT official attends to the hydram pump at the Kabiruini Agricultural Society of Kenya Show Ground on September 17, 2016. The pump does not require oil or electricity to push water. PHOT BY LABAN ROBERT.