Depth and Capacity of the WaterBuck 2

Now that the WaterBuck is gaining attention, we have been asked many times how deep the WaterBuck can pump from and how much effort is required.

The WaterBuck Pump is currently and efficiently operating in the range of 12’ – 14’ diameter windmills, therefore  we now anticipate reaching depths around  700’. But how can I say this and what is this conclusion based on?

waterbuckAs with any original design, it takes time to test the limits of the device in real conditions. Testing the limits of our pump in real conditions and with as many applications as necessary would require about 12 wells with different static water levels.  Since we started and for the past year, we are testing the maximum lift (from 80’) of the WaterBuck with a large windmill cylinder and pressure tank.  Pressurizing the tank to 50 psi from 80’ with a 4” cylinder is equivalent to pumping to an elevation of 195’.  These test results indicate how much deeper we can pump from with the same size cylinder with 1 or 2 operators and how much deeper we can pump from by reducing the size of the cylinder.

The charts established for water-pumping windmills have proven to be very useful for revealing the possibilities of the WaterBuck Pump.  In the following chart, note the capability and depth of a 12’ windmill in gallons per hour (gph  ÷ 60 = 13.8 gpm) operating a 4” cylinder.

windmill capacities

It takes a strong machine to efficiently pump as much or more gpm than a 12’ windmill. Not only are we pumping more gpm than a 12’ diameter windmill does at the same depth, we are operating around the same maximum depth as the windmill can on the long stroke with a 4” cylinder. And this is accomplished by a 160-pound man in his 50s who is currently pumping 17.5 gpm while breaking in a new cylinder.  At a static water level of 30’-40’ the effort required would be much less, yielding as much as 24 gpm by the same operator and same size cylinder. The increase of gpm is just an additional 10 cycles of the pump lever.

The WaterBuck with a 6” cylinder pumping from an elevation of 30-40’ with the same operator could yield more than 32 gpm, and more than 40 gpm with a fit, strong man.

Taking another look at the charts, the maximum depth the 12’ mill can reach with the long stroke is 420’. If the short stroke is used, elevation is increased by 1/3. We anticipate the same results by a man in his 50s with the WaterBuck.

Because of the unique mechanical advantage of the WaterBuck, the possibilities are incredible. We anticipate continuing to exceed the peak performance of 12’mills in gpm and depth and exceed 14’mills in depth with 1 and 2 operators.

A 12′ mill operating a 8″ cylinder from a static water level of 22′, can pump 55 gpm. We also anticipate the same results by a man in his 50s with the WaterBuck.

How much effort is required to pump water with the WaterBuck?

The effort effort required is being tested. Considering the pump makes an efficient use of human shape, motion, strength and weight, it is simple and easy to use.  We do see that a grandmother can yield half as much water per minute than the peak performance of a 12’ mill. Therefore we anticipate she could do the same at any depth with appropriate cylinder. Stay tuned for more updates!

Field testing updates: 80′ static level, 4″ cylinder,16″ stroke, 0.87 gallons per cycle.

Boys- WaterBuck Pump 10/01/13 – Three volunteers from Master’s Ranch and Christian Academy come over to help test the WaterBuck Pump.

While they were at it, they set a new high-water mark for pump capacity by filling a 55-gallon barrel in 3 minutes and 42 seconds with 64 cycles of the pump lever.

boys pumpingboys full barrel







© 2013 Well WaterBoy Products LLC ♦ WaterBuck Pump™ ♦ Pedal Powered PTO™


2 thoughts on “Depth and Capacity of the WaterBuck

  • Susan McVey

    My family has a deep well (approximately 925 ft deep..we live on a mountain top) and we are seeking a possible back-up pump system. We are realistic and do not require specific flow rates (gpm), but are seeking back-up pumping method mostly for potable uses and bathing. Do you have any products, suggestions or knowledge of possible solutions?
    Thanks for taking the time to consider our situation.

    • waterbuck Post author


      Because of the power of the WaterBuck Pump, we anticipate the same depths reached by water pumping windmills. Greater depths such as 700+ will require 2 operators, but possible with our pump. Reaching these greater depths will be much more expensive because of the cost of the drop pipe and sucker rod, however it would be a solution. The use of an open top cylinder allows for easy maintenance for replacing the leather cups. The drop pipe would not need to be removed.

      The good news is your static water level is likely to be much less that the depth of your drilled well. I know of wells drilled down to 700 feet and the water would fill the bore hole all the way up to 30’ from the surface, but not in all cases. Do you know what the static water level is? Knowing the depth of your current electric pump can give you a rough idea of the static water level. Electric pumps are set between 50’ to 100’ feet below the static. To check your static level, refer to our instructions on our Measure Your Well page.

      The simplest and least expensive solution would be to use a well bucket with a windlass. Depending on the size of your well casing, however, you would only retrieve about 1.25 or 2.3 gallons at a time. Well buckets require no electricity and work at any depth.

      Thank you for your questions. I will also email you.

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