martes, 28 de abril de 2009

Bicycle Water Pump

Since WATER is the biggest health issue in the world, it is no surprise that here in Nicaragua people, animals, and plants are all suffering from lack of this most vital nutrient. A brief study (5 minutes, by me) of recent water policy in the region revealed that somewhere between 50 and 80% of Nicaraguans have access to water, with the figures for sanitation of said water being much lower. I'm not about to try to understand the intricate web of bureaucracy and hypocrisy and politics that leaves so many people here without clean water. What i'm focusing on right now is our little town and my thirsty garden.
From what i am told, our water is derived from the ground, pumped and distributed by the water company who expects their bills paid in full and on time, regardless of how often water actually drips out of my sink and shower. Due to poorly functioning pumps, the municipal water supply is rationed--in town we usually have water 5 out of 7 days; however out at the farm, en el campo, water flows once every 7-15 days. muy malo. I assume people in this area store up water in whatever containers are at hand, partaking of their valuable resource sparingly. This time of year, dry season, everyone is especially parched, as is the land. No wonder i got so many bewildered faces when i zealously sowed vegetable seed back in March, in the midst of the Dry Hot No-Chance-Of-Rain Season.
Until now, my irrigation system has consisted of these simple tools, plus 2 girly biceps:
Slowly and methodically, sometimes meditatively, i bear water to mis plantitas.

While confident that lots of gardeners use watering cans so why can't i, the increasing heat and drying winds made my job harder and harder. i was haunted by the locals' voices: silly gringa, planting happens in June, the advent of the Wet Season.
Now, armed with almost a full year of weather watching, we are very much looking forward to the generous rains! Until then, and because we will still need potable water in la casita, a very cool project comes in:

BICYCLE WATER PUMP!
On the left under ground is a gigantic white 10,000 liter cistern, filled by the water company. A pipe will (soon) connect from the cistern up to the 2 black tanks on the tower--water will be pumped upward by sheer pedal power!

From there, good old gravity does its work to provide pressure for a beautiful new irrigation system (and from the other tank, water pressure into la casa!)
The inspiration for our crazy eco-bike pump came from here http://www.harvesth2o.com/pedaling.shtml
Huge thanks to our favorite farm interns, Bailey and Jocelyn, whose energy and time got this project off the ground, or rather out of the ground? ¡Muy amable, amigos!

1 comentario:

Jayne dijo...

This is one of the most sustainable ideas for Water Feature Pumps I have come across and an excellent way to irrigate using a very scarce resource and very intiative too.