Rower pump

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Rower pump icon.png
The rower pump was made to use for prolonged periods of time. Photo: RWSN.

The Rower pump was developed as a simple manually operated pump for small scale irrigation. The Rower Pump is a suction pump in which the piston is directly activated. A surge chamber (an air vessel just downstream of the foot valve, makes the pumping operation smoother). It is a simple and reliable pump with very few moving parts thus wear is reduced.

It is easy to repair and maintain. The sitting position of the operator is ergonomically favourable and makes it easy to pump for prolonged periods, thus well suited for irrigation. The pump has limited use for drinking water as the spout is relatively low. Typically, Rower Pumps are installed in collapsible tube wells with the screen extending to the coarse sand aquifer.

Suitable conditions

About 200,000 pumps have been made in Bangladesh.

Pumping depth (Lift): 0 to 8 m
Cylinder diameter: 54.4 mm
Stroke: variable
Yield: (75 watt input, at 5 m head) ~ 4.5 m³/hour
Population served: 0.1 hectare or 50 to 100 people
Type of well: collapsible tube well or dug well

Advantages Disadvantages
Cheaper construction than most reciprocating suction and lift pumps

- Maintenance using local skills and materials
- Long piston stroke gives water delivery of up to 90 litres/min at 4 metres depth

Limited to wells of less than 7 metres in depth

Construction, operations and maintenance

Rower pump is basically a suction plunger pump. Drawing: How to Build Human-Powered Water-Lifters.

All components are made from plastic; Surge chamber-blow moulded plastic, plunger and foot valve have rubber flap valves; rising main-PVC pipe with a Robo screen filter.

The installation of the Rower 6 pump is easy and does not need any lifting equipment or special tools. The drillers who sink the tube well with the sludger method also install the pump. This pump has an excellent potential for maintenance by the users. All repairs can be done without the use of tools.

Industrial production: large scale production in local or foreign industrial units. The cast iron design required foundry equipment and skills.


Approx US$ 100-200 including tube well (depending on installation depth and drilling method).