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These girls live in the Eastern mountains of Zimbabwe with lovely green hills and sparkling cool streams. Yes, the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe have plenty of water flowing along the mountains. The charming Nyachohwa Falls, on the previous page, tumbling into a natural woodland pool, always come as a delightful surprise to tourists.

But these girls have to carry water every day to the top of the mountain where their village nestles. Their problem is to capture this water and bring it into their homesteads where they can use it for bathing, drinking, cooking and for watering their gardens. These girls have one dream:

We take a look at the problem many communities are facing with trying to get water, and at one solution which seems to be working in Zimbabwe, thanks to a flow of information which connects people in North and South through centuries.

This is the almost invisible solution - the system of the RAM PUMP

It works on the same principles of physics that enable its cumbersome predecessors to water the farmlands of Europe, the MidEast and Asia over the past two hundred years. John Whitehurst is credited with inventing a non-self-acting ram pump in England in 1772. By 1796 a Frenchman, Joseph Michael Montgolfier, had added a valve, which made the device self-acting, making the ram pump almost a perpetual motion machine when water supplies were steady. In 1809, the first American patent was issued to J. Cerneau and S.S. Hallet in New York...but it wasn't until 1832 that information began spreading across the eastern states about the "simple pump that pushes water uphill using energy from falling water." Water-hungry rural Americans were intrigued by the pumps. Benson's Patent Water Ram could pump water from the powering stream or spring up a hill or it could use that power to push another water supply....potable perhaps...uphill. Articles in magazines such as the Farmer's Cabinet and American Farmer brought further recognition and understanding of the ram and its possibilities.

For more than 100 years rams were major movers of water to homes, farms, industries, railroads and towns. They contributed to improved crop production, introduction of extensive landscaping and gardening, and, perhaps most importantly, to health and sanitation. But with the advent of electrical pumps, interest in the hydraulic rams became dormant. Ram pumps were allowed to rust in the stream until expensive parts, fossil fuel shortages, and environmental concerns brought back to the public's mind the need for a pump that is inexpensive, requires almost no repairs or maintenance, is self-acting, and which can raise water to a considerable height vertically. The public began searching for a ram it could readily afford, pick up easily and move if necessary.

Ram Pumps only have two moving parts, making them virtually maintenance-free. Water enters the lower of two chambers through a pipe from an elevated water source. This pipe must be relatively long and thick so that significant force (inertia) is developed as the water moves down it to the chamber. As water rushes in it starts the pump. The chamber fills and the ESCAPE VALVE shuts. The DELIVERY VALVE to the AIR DOME opens. The momentum of the rushing water pushes some water into the air dome and compresses the air that partially fills that chamber. When the pressure is great enough it opposes the force of the incoming water and the second valve drops shut. After the delivery valve shuts, air pressure pushes water up the outlet pipe. In the first chamber, all valves are closed and no water can move, so the escape valve drops open and the cycle begins to repeat, about once a second. This is an ideal pump when a plentiful water source is available. Roughly 3/4's of the water that passes through the system exits via the escape valve.

Get more information about operational requirements from:



"How to harness water in a cheap way"
14'17" /

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