Early in 2012, I set a goal to come up with a manually operated pump that could reach beyond the 300-foot threshold, past the point where common hand pumps can operate. I also wanted a pump that could deliver volumes of water from shallow and deep wells, a lot more water than from a common hand pump.
Why We Created Such a Machine
On our journey to an eco-friendly, self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle, my wife and I learned from experience that we overlooked some important issues: too much modern alternative-energy reliance for, most importantly, water and an insufficient water supply.
First, using technology for water was not as dependable as I initially thought. Although I had wind and solar systems, they were powerless when winter storms coated the wind turbine and solar panels with ice for more than a week. Then, a summer windstorm blew my solar panel rack out of place. Fortunately, flying debris did not hit my solar panels, but easily could have. Another time, I had electronic failure in my control box, possibly from lightning, that required parts and repairs.
My only source of fresh drinking water – or any water at all – was my bored water well. I eventually understood that even without a weather disaster, alternative energy components can break and batteries have a lifespan. If one part fails and is not readily available, the entire system can be inoperable leaving me without the most important thing – water. Realizing my micro-grid technology could be destroyed or fail caused me to wonder what I need to do now to secure a major water backup supply for a long-term emergency.
After we began our new homestead, we discovered the second issue, insufficient water, when we experienced another water crisis: drought. In 2012, because of the lack of rain, we watered the vegetable gardens with the electric well pump. After a few weeks of 100-degree temperatures and no rain, we stopped watering because the well’s yield and recovery rate decreased causing the pump to suck air.
If worse came to worst, we had our own trusty well bucket for retrieving fresh water from the well, although the recovery rate did not get that low. We managed washing clothes by turning the machine off once or twice during the fill cycle to give the well time to recharge and not burn up the pump.
Our garden plants (main food supply) and young trees (future food) began dying, so the next option was to hand pump from a cattle pond.
At the pond, I set up a common suction hand pump with a 2” drop pipe. With only a 7’ elevation and 20’ lateral line, it did not take a lot of effort to pump the handle and it yielded almost 2 cups of water per stroke. However, we had to be enthusiastic to get a decent amount of water in a minute. After just a few minutes of steady pumping, I was fatigued. My wife also struggled for 2 hours daily to pump in 100-degree heat just to keep the plants alive, yet it was not enough water and many edible plants and young fruit/nut trees and berry bushes died. The two hours spent pumping does not include the time carrying the water and watering the plants. The hand pump eventually broke and had to be replaced. If we did not have the electric pump for our home, our situation could have gotten grim.
I understood I needed a good, strong hand pump for my deep well, but had not purchased one yet. I began to wonder how hard it would be for my wife and me to pump water from our deep well, considering our experience with a shallow well hand pump. I realized common hand pumps available today are inadequate for supplying the water we need long-term. I thought, how will I get water during a catastrophe?
Yes, I had a cattle pond to get water, but I am not going to bathe in it or wash clothes in that mess. That’s when I got busy designing and building a hand pump. My goal was also to make this hand pump easy for my wife to use and for us to use it through our golden years.
After three prototypes, I came up with the Waterbuck Pump – a hand pump machine that is unlike any in existence. A capacity up to 55 gallons a minute depending on static water level and size of cylinder and muscle power.
Stay tuned for the new updates. We are going to test the maximum capacity of the WaterBuck at a static of 80′.
The WaterBuck is a human powered water well pumping machine that needs no wind power, electricity, solar or other micro-grid technology to operate. The machine uses a simple combination of human shape, motion, weight and strength, to pump volumes of water from water wells.
Now my wife and I have peace of mind regarding water – during droughts and power outages. We now water the garden with the WaterBuck Pump and a pressure tank when needed.
Please see our videos of the WaterBuck Pump in action at our Youtube Channel
See our story in Mother Earth News
Our products offer a better quality of life for the self-reliant.
© 2013 Well WaterBoy Products/WaterBuck Pump™