TREADLE PUMP ; RELIABLE METHOD OF IRRIGATION

College Admin

24 May 2016

Rain fed farming is no more reliable system of farming. Its difficult to cultivate crop solely  depending upon rain. However, farmers are unable to use any reliable system of irrigation due to its high cost of installment specially in poor country like Nepal. The farmers having fragmented lands also faces such problem. So we need such system which is easy to construct, comfort in using and is within the economic range of marginal farmers. Thus, for us treadle pump system ( Laxmi dhiki pump ) is the right choice. The pump is easy to construct using locally available resources, discharges good amount of water year all and thus help to maximise returns of farmers from their small plot of land.

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Treadle pump is a foot driven hydraulic pump which permits lifting of ground water from depth of up to 7 m. It is cheap, light and easy to construct and transport. Locally available bamboos are also used in its construction. Such treadle pump are known as bamboo treadle pump. The treadle pump was invented by Gunnar Barnes, a Norwegian engineer and was first installed in Bangladesh. It is now extensively used in rural areas of many developing countries of Asia and Africa.

The pump is composed of two parts ; the pump itself and the operating mechanism. The pump is made mostly of metal and consist of two 

cylinders connected to a suction pipe at the base and with an outlet spout at the top. The operating mechanism consists of foot pedals fitted to a bamboo superstructure and includes a framework that the operator can hold onto for support. The pump is operated manually and is easy to use. The operator stands on the treadles and presses them up and down in a rhythmic motion like pressing pedals on a bicycle. An healthy adult person can perform this work for about 3-4 hours without any discomfort since the muscles of leg are strong enough to facilitate the movement with average discharge of 0.8 – 1.5 litres/sec.

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This system is suitable for those areas which do not or have little access to grid electricity and canal irrigation. The most important objective of this system is that poor and marginal farmers have an access to affordable and reliable irrigation source. It is designed for the farmers having small plot of land up to size of an acres or those having fragmented land. Currently over 2 million treadle pumps have been installed worldwide. About 1.3 million pumps are installed in Asia and 35,000 in Eastern Africa. More than 30,000 peoples have treadle pump in Nepal (according to ICIMOD 2011).

 

The pump must be installed in such area where the ground level of water is close to the surface and certainly not more than 25 feet. Clayey soil with very few stones or boulders is good since manual boring is possible as it is cheap and affordable. The climate should be sub-tropical with reasonably high rainfall during the rainy season. The pump is suited to such areas that have pronounced wet and dry seasons and is thus able to permit efficient year round cropping. Also, it can be used in such areas where there is an abundance of surface water such as pond, stream, river etc.

According to a research conducted by ICIMOD  in Banke, Bardiya, Dailekh, Surkhet, Kaski, Dhanusa, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, Jhapa and Salyan district covering more than 1000 km, area with average annual rainfall 1000-1500 mm, altitude 1000-1500 with gentle or flat slope is suitable for installation of pump in Nepal. According to the research the construction and yearly maintainance cost is respectively about NPR 5000 and NPR 1000. The crop yield and farm income was increased  by more than 50% as the availability of irrigation water was also increased by 50% in the researched area. Researchers found the acceptance of this technology fairly good. The land users were quick to adopt this technology voluntarily even without any external support.

Thus, being a cheap and eco-friendly technique treadle pump system has great potential in Nepal especially for marginal group. Large community of peoples have adopted this technology and are taking its benefit. However, others are not in access with such type of knowledge so are unable to produce effectively. Approaching this system to all the marginal group of farmers can help to increase the life standard of farmers and also our country by securing food security. So this system is indeed a need of marginal farmers of Nepal.

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