The Innovative Human-Powered Water Well Pump for the 21st Century

The WaterBuck Pump  (patent pending), an innovative water solution, is the first of its kind, unlike any traditional hand pumps in existence. A high performance human-powered well pump so strong and efficient,  it exceeds the lift and peak performance of a 12′-diameter windmill in gallons per minute. Depths far beyond what could even be considered possible with a hand pump are now reachable with the WaterBuck Pump.

waterbuck blue

It was conceived and designed out of necessity and built for long-term reliability and ease of operation. It is a human-powered, deep-well, water-pumping machine engineered and built to meet the demand.

The WaterBuck Pump is much more than a hand pump, it is a fresh water supply system for:

  • the self-reliant
  • developing countries
  • long-term emergencies
  • off-grid communities
  • rural communities
  • emergency shelters
  • homesteaders
  • large families
  • farms and ranches
  • campgrounds

Enjoy volumes of fresh water you can’t get from traditional hand pumps for:

  • fresh drinking water
  • bathing
  • laundry
  • cleaning
  • irrigating gardens
  • watering livestock 
  • capacity up to 55 gpm depending on depth, size of cylinder and muscle power

The WaterBuck Pump has the ability to:

  • pump from shallow and deep wells
  • pump water up hill from shallow or deep wells
  • pressurize a tank for indoor plumbing
  • irrigate a few acres of land from a shallow well

6′, 8′, and 10′ windmills cannot operate a 4″ pump cylinder from a static water level of 80′, but a grandmother can, using the WaterBuck Pump.

Before the electric pump was invented, wind and the mechanical advantage of a 12-foot windmill was needed to pump water from a deep well with a static water level of 80 feet operating a 4-inch pump cylinder.

But, now a physically active grandmother can easily do the same using the WaterBuck. No wind power, electricity, solar or other micro-grid technology is needed.

Using a simple combination of human shape, motion, weight and strength, volumes of water can be pumped from water wells. Depths far beyond what could even be considered are now possible with the WaterBuck Pump.


The WaterBuck Pump has an enormous amount of mechanical advantage for a manual deep well pump.  For more detailed information, please see our mechanical advantage page.

 WaterBuck Field-Test Results:

The following results – a feat unprecedented in the common hand pump sector  – are from pumping with an 80-foot static water level and with a 4-inch brass pump cylinder with 2-inch drop pipe. 

22 Gallons in one minute


With the non-electric shallow and deep well WaterBuck Pump and a pressure tank, anyone can water a garden easily with a hose and sprayer. Watch video here.

What is the maximum depth and capacity of the WaterBuck Pump?

The WaterBuck Pump is currently and efficiently operating in the range of 12’ – 14’ diameter windmills, therefore we now anticipate reaching depths around 700’. Please see “Depth and Capacity of the WaterBuck”


How do common deep-well hand pumps compare to the WaterBuck Pump?

Traditional hand pumps cannot compare to the WaterBuck Pump. The output per stroke of conventional pumps is measured in ounces. The stroke of our pump, so far, is measured in quarts and ounces with a maximum of 3 quarts and 15 ounces in one stroke. In an application with a 6″ cylinder, the stroke is measured in gallons and quarts.

We have a video of a 64-year-old grandmother pumping 7 gallons a minute from a deep well using the WaterBuck Pump. She pumped that much water with only 19 half-strokes of the handle and it was easy for her. To get the same yield of 7 gallons from a commercial deep well hand pump with the same application, a fit, tall, strong man weighing around 200 pounds would have to pump the lever 140 times. I doubt he could even get to 60 strokes and yield 3 gpm before he became exhausted.

What type of pump cylinders and sucker rod come with the WaterBuck Pump?

WaterBuck Pump

Have the water you need when you need it. The WaterBuck Pump.

Our innovative  hand pump machine operates the same reciprocating pump cylinders made for windmills, with cylinder sizes up to 8 inches.

For more than 100 years the windmill industry has had great success pumping water with brass water well cylinders made by Midland Manufacturing Company. We are proud and pleased to offer these high-quality windmill cylinders and stuffing boxes with the WaterBuck Pump.

Strong sucker rod is needed to withstand the torque created by the WaterBuck, so we use the same high-quality  ¾” fiberglass sucker rod with rod guides successfully used with 12’ to 16’ windmills.


Can the WaterBuck pressurize a pressure tank?

With the non-electric shallow and deep well WaterBuck Pump and a pressure tank, anyone can have water in their home as they do with an electric water pump. The WaterBuck uses a closed system with the pump system. With the use of a stuffing box and check valve, water can be pumped into a pressure tank for household use or into an overhead storage tank for a gravity flow system. We also have made a “unique” frost proof improvement to the pump. Please see freeze-proofing

Waterbuck Pump  well head

Is the WaterBuck easy to use?

WaterBuck PumpThe machine’s design efficiently uses human shape, motion, weight and strength, which makes it easy to use, thereby yielding more water. It’s easy enough for a grandmother to get her water needs for the day even from deep wells.  With two operators pumping in tandem, more water can be retrieved easily.

The machine has an adjustable pump lever from 4′ to 5′ for more leverage and a 42″ pump handle to accommodate two users. For deep well applications, the machine has a counterweight system to off-set the weight of the sucker rod. Counterweights can be used with the pump handle to make pumping easier.


Can the WaterBuck be used with an existing submersible pump?

With the right conditions, size of pump cylinder and well casing, the WaterBuck Pump can work in tandem with existing submersible pumps. If the conditions are not favorable, a specially-made electric submersible pump used by the windmill industry can be mounted on the bottom of the manual pump cylinder, pictured at right. A booster or jet pump at the surface can supply pressure for indoor plumbing.

Please see here for more info.

Is the WaterBuck robust, dependable, built to last and warrantied?

pump up banner

The WaterBuck is a very heavy duty commercial grade water well pumping machine. It has to be to overcome the force required to pump volumes of water from shallow and deep wells under human power. The mechanical parts designed are for industrial applications. The pump’s control arms operate from a 2″ shaft. The machine is 76″ tall and weighs 415 pounds without a counterweight system. The  pump head comes with a 5-year warranty, and requires just simple and easy maintenance. So dependable, the WaterBuck Pump is built to last for decades, made to be handed down to the next generation.

The capacity of the WaterBuck Pump varies by application. Not all results will be the same. Water yield is determine by static water level,  size of cylinder, length of stroke and cycles per minute.

Click here for a sample price of the WaterBuck Pump and get a price quote.

.Why is the pump named for an antelope?

WaterBuckAs the name indicates, the waterbuck inhabits areas close to water in savanna grasslands, gallery forests and riverine woodlands of the African Sahara. The waterbuck is more water-dependent than domestic cattle and must remain close to a water source. This is a large, robust antelope. Bulls have a shoulder height of 50 inches and can weigh up to 500 pounds.

Only the bulls have long, forward curved horns, which can reach 40 inches. This is also a gregarious antelope. Dominant bulls occupy territories which they defend by aggressive posturing and even fights. They are strong swimmers and when seriously threatened, will take refuge in deep water..

.Well bucket, waterboy well bucket


.With the WaterBuck Pump you can have the water you need when you need it!

See our story in Mother Earth News

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see more of the pump’s capabilities and updates to the performance charts. Our YouTube Channel

Please share the WaterBuck Pump with your friends!

© 2013 Well WaterBoy Products LLC ♦ WaterBuck Pump™

19 thoughts on “The Innovative Human-Powered Water Well Pump for the 21st Century

  • Decherf

    We do own the world record for human powered pumping with our hydruaulic HPV100, installed at 130 m (almost 400 ft) with dynamic level at 120 m (360 ft).
    I seriouslty doubt this pump can match this, especially in the long run.
    Where is the innovation there ? the ergonomy of the pump itself is weird, the way of pumping should be a back-breaker.
    And people interested in such technology should know that if they intend to install this Equipment in rural sector for developping countries, they will eventually break down : you need parts and skills.

    • waterbuck Post author


      While I do commend Marc Vergnet for the innovative hydraulic pump he invented in 1974, I have not heard of it until now. I have heard of claims of reaching depths of 300’ and beyond under human power, but the results yield very little water, I am told, and are therefore not practical for such depths, although an achievement indeed.

      If you knew the mechanics of our human-powered pump and operated it, I believe you would reconsider your thoughts. You seem to be comparing apples to oranges. The two pumps work quite differently. In the 38 years since Marc invented his hydraulic pump, its peak performance seems to be 360’, yet I doubt very many are used beyond 260’ because of its water yield. We on the other hand, have just begun to test the limits of the WaterBuck Pump and are breaking records in gallons per minute from the beginning.

      When we began designing this pump, many industry professionals told me I was wasting my time, that what I was trying to do was impossible. What we have accomplished to this point is incredible. I think, with an issue as important as water, no ideas should be discounted or criticized. More innovation is needed.

      You also questioned our innovation. Yet, we are getting volumes of water from a deep well. Our field test results began not with young, strong operators, but with a man in his 50s and woman in her 60s, an 8-year-old boy and women in their 20s. I wanted to make a pump anyone can operate and still get volumes of water. With our new enhancement, we anticipate that the next test will result in more water for the same groups and the maximum from a strong, fit man.

      The Vergnet Hydro webpage states: “Whether operated by hand or by foot, the pumping performance of this system is at least equal to that of conventional pumps.”

      Conventional hand pumps cannot compare to the WaterBuck Pump. The output per stroke of conventional pumps is measured in ounces with a maximum of 20 ounces. The stroke of our pump, thus far, is measured in quarts and ounces with a maximum of 3 quarts and 6 ounces in one stroke. In an application with a 6″ cylinder, the stroke is measured in gallons and quarts.

      You said you doubt the WaterBuck could match the HPV100. Considering a man in his 50s matched the peak performance of a 12-foot-diameter windmill in gpm – and we have a counterweight system to offset the weight of the sucker rod – and the WaterBuck is designed for 2 operators, we anticipate depths well beyond the 400-foot range with the same 1 7/8” open-top cylinder operated by large diameter windmills.

      Can the HPV100 pump 13.5 gallons a minute with a static level of 80′ by a man in his 50s weighing 155 pounds? Our test shows the WaterBuck Pump without the counterweight system is easily lifting 840 pounds when set on the long stroke. With the pump set on the short stroke it will be easier to operate and even reach deeper. We will have a 350-400’deep well application soon and share the results.

      You said: the ergonomy of the pump itself is weird, the way of pumping should be a back-breaker.

      The body motion in pumping the WaterBuck Pump is an efficient use of human shape motion and strength. If you don’t have a lot of strength, then you can pump like grandma did and still get 7 gpms from 80’. Grandma has arthritis and tendinitis in her shoulders. I have had back problems for many years, but currently get 13.5 gpm. Pumping is easy for both of us.

      You mentioned breakdowns. Any commercial manual pump will eventually break down, and need parts and skills for repair. As such, we have built the WaterBuck strong for durability.

      We are looking for partners for this innovative pump. It will benefit many people worldwide. Your company Vergnet Groupe is welcome to consider it as are others.

      • Etienne DECHERF

        Thanks for this answer to my comments.

        Since 1974, around 100 000 hydropumps have been installed in Africa. It’s just came to my mind you were maybe not focusing pumping solution for developing countries but for individuals ?

        I just wanted to stress that you pump may be the best pump ever, it has never been tested in “real conditions” yet : a pump installed in the middle of Sahelian countries, with 100+ différents users per day, operating from 6 am to 10 pm will quickly reveal its value.
        Parts and skills will be needed, however strong you built it : even with high quality materials, stainless steel etc.. it will break down, thus the pump should fulfill the VLOM principles (removal and installation of the pump without any lifting devices, parts availble locally etc..)

        Anyway, in the meantime, you could maybe ask for yield certification by an independant organism (Veritas or another one) ?
        At 80 feet static level, a HPV100 is not needed (starting 150 feet water level with a 1070 liter per/hour, pump installed at 102 meters with static level at 50m. certified), you should switch to our HPV60-2000 which will only give roughly 2000 liter per hours, pump installed at 32 meters, certified data.

        1070 l/h = 4.7 gallons/hour.
        2000 l/h = 8.8 gallons/hour.

        Here is my concern : whatever the quality of your products, please conduct surveys, tests, experimentations, certifications etc before claiming you are breaking records (even if it is true). Sorry if my comments may appear a bit hard, but you can’t imagine how many times I have seen people claiming they had the one-solution for water in remote areas.

        I sincerely hope your pump will match the needs of its foreseen users! Feel free to send me technical data.


        • waterbuck Post author


          A pump like the WaterBuck is much more than a pump for individuals. It is also for large families, entire communities here and in developing countries.

          The Waterbuck mechanical parts are designed for industrial applications. Point being, it will take a lot time under human power before anything must be repaired or replaced.

          The pump systems used by windmills have been proven and tested for more than 100 years. We simply made a human-powered machine that could operate the same pump system efficiently. Because our pump system is not a hand pump, it would not fall under the Village Level Operation and Maintenance (VLOM) guidelines. Even though it is operated by hand, it is much more than a hand pump; it is an efficient water well pumping machine with enormous mechanical advantage.

          Windmills, which require lifting equipment, are used in developing countries in shallow and deep well applications. So, installing our high volume shallow and deep well pump with manual equipment is no big deal. I just installed my pump system basically by myself and it weighs about 500 pounds. A tripod, pulleys, rope and a few tools are all that is needed. Bridges and other structures have been built without modern lifting machinery.

          If I can choose between a high volume shallow and deep well pump system that just about anyone can operate that needs basic lifting equipment or a common hand pump that requires no lifting, I would choose the high-volume pump.

          Windmills are also very expensive to purchase, install and maintain. Our pump is a more economical alternative.

          We do have certified well documentation and videos of the yield, but are not going to get certified every time we break records. When we get to the maximum depth and yield, then we will get the proper documentation. We have never implied we have the “one solution” for water in remote areas. But we do have a solution for getting much more water from shallow and deep water wells with less effort and reach depths beyond what was thought possible under human power. Please do not be too critical; we do have a great start!


          • Dave

            You keep talking about “mechanical advantage”, but without acknowledging that you still have limited power available. If I use a lever, two gears, whatever, to gain a 10 to 1 advantage, I move the object acted upon one-tenth as far, with one-tenth the force, but by moving ten times the distance. You’re not “gaining” anything, you’re just trading time/distance for force.

            You appear to be selling something akin to a perpetual motion machine.

          • waterbuck Post author


            I designed a manual pump that makes it possible to gain more water in less time and with less effort than conventional hand pumps. Our design makes a better use of limited human power available. We are not expressing something akin to a perpetual motion machine.

            I know it’s hard to believe a grandmother can pump more than twice as much water with our pump than a fit, strong man can with a conventional hand pump, but it is a fact. Even more incredible is that a fit, strong man could not operate a conventional hand pump with a 4” cylinder to lift water with the current application of our pump. However, a grandma can with ours and did it efficiently.

            Thanks for the comments.

  • Twodayone

    What a great ideal for people in countries where good drinking water is hard to come by. If a well is available with good drinking water and electricity is not available this would fill the order. Another great place would be a cabin or camp in the wildness with no electricity to pump water from well or lake.

  • Ronnie Hyde

    One other thing. Most wells in Missouri are in the 300+ depth range. What product do you have for that deep or deeper?

    • waterbuck Post author


      With field testing under human power, the WaterBuck Pump exceeds the lift of a 12’ diameter windmill. The maximum depth of a 12’ windmill is around 400’, so we anticipate reaching well beyond 400’. The WaterBuck pump is a shallow and deep well pump.

  • Ronnie Hyde

    I’d like to receive website updates and pricing information when it is available. Just out of curiosity, why don’t you have a price list already?

    • waterbuck Post author


      We do have a sample price for the WaterBuck, You can also click on Price Quote-upper right side of the home page and blog pages. Also on the upper navigation bar titled “Price Comparison”. You can also subscribe for updates by using the scribe button on right side of the home page and blog pages.

      Thank you,

  • Arianna

    Very interested in this pump from what I see so far. I have a well that is down almost 380feet on a small farm a day without water is a disaster for my animals . I seek a alternative solution for when my power goes out , which it often does in the winter , or in case the whole grid goes down due to some unforeseen catastrophe. I am interested knowing how difficult this is to install as well and how much ‘Other’ stuff is needed beyond the pump to get it installed. Please send me details and pricing ASAP , I live in North Idaho


    • waterbuck Post author


      We will get that information to you as soon as we can.

      Thank you!


  • Dawn Dickson

    I am very interested in your pump. Do you have any idea when they will be available, and general cost.

    • waterbuck Post author


      Thank you for your comment and interest. We should have prices next week and will be taking orders for immediate production. We are trying hard to keep costs as affordable as possible and are excited to bring this pump to people who really need it.

  • waterbuck Post author

    It has been rewarding and challenging to invent a well water pumping machine that far surpasses the capacity of proven hand pumps used for decades. I went through several prototypes to get the current water capacity. If not for electricity, a pump like this would have been invented long ago. However, because of current environmental situations, worldwide water issues and energy uncertainty, the timing was right to develop this manually operated pump.

    Personally, after experiencing two water-related crises and micro-grid technology, I learned we needed a serious non-electric water supply system, hence the WaterBuck Pump. We are very excited to offer another solution and option for getting water from water wells without electricity. We believe this pump will be beneficial to people around the world.

    Please let us know what you think about the WaterBuck Pump.

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