Appropriate Technology

The Ram Pump has been renovated!

water pumpOne of the major projects and work of the Appropriate Technology department this summer has been a much needed renovation of the famous Sunseed ram pump! The ram pump is one of the best example of appropriate technology in Sunseed. It provides water to the village of Los Molinos from the ancient irrigation canals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year without any electricity or wires. The only energy it requires is the water pressure created by gravity. The ram pump has been in the village since the mid 1980’s, but it has not had a proper overhaul for years. This summer there were some problems with breakdowns and irregular performance. Our AT team rose to the challenge! Becky and Sara doing maintenanceEngineering interns Becky and Sarah at the pump DSC00039The pump needing some TLC Second leak bad repair and overgrown drive pipeOne of the leaks in the very over-grown drive pipe DSC00017A rusted up air vessel with the bad kind of holes… DSC000j08A cracked pulse valve plate. Turns out we don’t need one if the pulse valve rubber is thick enough…   Upgraded non-return valve2Above in picture is the old no-return valve on the feed tube provifing the village with water. The valve itself is the gray bit in the middle. and on each side of it is a small adaptor piece that connects it to the tube connectors. Turns out the inner diameter of the adaptor piece was only 10mm in diameter, and thus were a big restriction on the flow, as the inner diameter of the pipe is 16mm. Below in the picture is the beefed-up replacement. The water flow to the villagers almost dubbeled! Coning tube end for better flowEmil, our AT Coordinator, coning the end of the feed pipe to reduce water turbulence in the connection. DSC00141We made some changes as we fabricated a new air vessel, in particular we upgraded the feed pipe connection. Here you see the new sturdy 25mm brass fitting, replacing a flimsy 20mm plastic thing.DSC00142The AT team are now preparing to put in a new upgraded drive pipe. We recognized that stone-lining the trench for the drive pipe will stop most vegetation as well as erosion and to keep the trench clear for easier maintenance. It’s a big job, but we decided it was worth it, if only for the presentable estetics it adds. Gillian stone-lining day 4c Many volunteers had a chance to help in this project, and learn some useful stone walling techinques. Here are our volunteers Gillian (above), Natalie and Leonardo (below) working on the stone lining and supporting walls. Leonardo and Nathalie stone-lining day 2aLeonardo and Nathalie stone-lining day 2d A big thank you to everyone involved in the ram pump renovation of 2014!