Solutions for Self-Reliance

A Human Powered Water Pump you Have to See


I’ve done quite a bit of writing about how to harvest and manage rainwater recently.

However, in the wake of Sandy, it’s time to start thinking about what to do with an excessive amount of water (e.g. unwanted water flooding your basement), particularly during an emergency that knocks out power and fuel deliveries.

To find an elegant potential human powered solution, I asked Devin, the water harvesting guru for Resilient Strategies.

He sent me a link to a step action water pump that simply said:

“Performance specs are eye-popping for a human powered pump, I’ve not seen anything close.   Price is ~$500. Not bad.”

Intrigued, I took a look.

Here’s the pump.  It’s from Ecologics, a small company in New Zealand.

It’s a real work of art from a performance perspective.

It’s built to last:  Zinc coated steel.  Self-lubricating bearings.  Durability tested with diaphragm life proven in excess of 5,000,000 liters and the pump mechanicals in excess of 9,000,000 steps.

And amazing performance specs.  One operator can move 5-6,000 liters an hour and it has a max lift of 20 meters.

Also, due to mechanical assist, it can also be operated by people with low body weight.

Simply, it looks amazing and if it performs at anything close to its specs, it should be a staple in every fire department and town hall.



Moving lots of water this easily using step action got me thinking:  How would you use a pump like this?

One domestic way to use it would be to pump a tank of water at ground level to a raised tank to give it some positive pressure (for a sprinkler or indoor plumbing).

Another, and this was featured on the Ecologics site, is small scale mining (?).  Here’s the unit and the mining accessory folded into a backpack.

Any other ideas?

Resiliently Yours,



PS:  Do you think human powered systems like this ever fit into a resilient home or are they oddities?



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