Published on June 12th, 2008 | by ecolocalizer


Bicycle-Powered Water Pumps and Filtration Systems

bike-water-pumppreviewNote: this article is part of this week’s EcoWorldly cycling series: Cycling and its importance in countries around the world.

As a writer on global writer issues, I wasn’t quite sure what to do when my writing colleagues at EcoWorldly suggested that we all contribute to a series on bicycling.

Bikes and water: could the two really be related? To my pleasant surprise, they are indeed!

I learned about several organizations dedicated to providing people in developing nations with the means to get clean water through the use of bicycles.


Bicycle-Powered Water Pumps


One group from the Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) program at the University of Colorado at Boulder developed a prototype of a human powered bicycle for pumping water in communities where electricity is unavailable. Their model was able to pump at a maximum of 18 feet below ground, at 2.5 gallons per minute. The specifics of their project is detailed here.

Another great organization I found online is the Working Bikes Cooperative, a Chicago-based nonprofit that takes old bikes and repairs them to donate to charities in Chicago, the Gulf Coast, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, and other places of need. The primary purpose of the donated bikes are to provide affordable and healthy transportation to people from underdeveloped nations, but other bicycles are used to create water filtration systems in communities plagued with unsanitary water.

I also found a company called McEdwards Manufacturing and Distribution, Inc. that sells a “Third World Water Pump” setup, which supposedly can pump clean water from wells with depths of 200 feet or more.

And here’s a quite informative and inspiring video on a pedal-powered water transportation and filtration vehicle created by a San Bruno, California team which won Google’s “Innovate or Die Pedal-Powered Machine Challenge” this year:

Aquaduct: Mobile Filtration Vehicle YouTube Clip (1:59 min)

The neat-looking bike filters the water as you bike from point A to point B.

What a concept! I’d love to get my hands, and legs, on one of those!

Other Articles in Ecolocalizer’s Bicycling Series


Photo: Working Bikes Cooperative

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13 Responses to Bicycle-Powered Water Pumps and Filtration Systems

  1. Pingback: Of Course Cycling in Australia is Healthy, But What To Do With the Cars? : EcoWorldly

  2. Pingback: 17 Reasons Why Bicycles Are the Most Popular Vehicle in the World Today : EcoWorldly

  3. I Have Lot Of Idea Regarding Energy Saving. Plz Call Me. For Further Discussion.

  4. Jagdish Kulkarni says:


    I am a video professional from Nashik (India).

    I would like to know if you have a solution of hand/ manually operated water pump for our building. We have 4 floors with terrace at 5th flr. Height appox 80ft and ground water at around 300 ft deep (from our ground). We are 12 families in the society.

    We plan to put the pump at terrace (for our storage in terrace) and pull the water when there is no electricity. This will also save the electricity.

    Please give us a solution for this requirment.

    Thank you


    Mr Jagdish Kulkarni



    ph 09890961576

  5. Bernard R. Tapriru says:


    Kindly send me the plan and specifications of your bicycle powered water pump which will be very usefull in the irrigations of my small farm.

    Very truly yours,

    Bernard R. Tapiru
    District 4, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines

  6. B.S.Murty says:

    My comments:
    Both the devices are extremely useful for the developing world.:
    1. The bicycle powered water pump, and
    2. The pedal operated Electric Generator.
    The water pump may typically lift 40 cu.ft of water (about 250 lbs) to a height of 20 to 30 ft.
    The generator may preferably be a D.C Generator delivering about 40 to 50 Amps.
    I foresee a lot of utilisation and demand for them.
    I like to be in touch with the designers / manufacturers. I appreciate receiving further info.
    (No doubt both are good for health also.) Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  7. Ritter Courivaud says:

    Dear Sir.

    Please kindly note that we have a business supply of Water Pumping Machines with purification devises and waste water management machines we will like your Company to supply us with.

    Please kindly send your best quotations.

    Thanks with due regards.

    Mrs. Ritter Courivaud.

  8. Gavin Hudson says:

    To everyone interested in obtaining a bicycle powered water pump, I will reply as best I can. EcoWorldly is an international environmental news blog, so we don’t have any direct connection with the team that built the water pump. However, you can find an explanation of how to build the water pump at the following web address: http://www.edc-cu.org/ppt/WheelDeal.pdf . Also, you can get in direct contact with the organization that developed the water pump at http://www.edc-cu.org/ .

    I hope this helps.

    Best regards,


    Gavin Hudson
    Editor, EcoWorldly

  9. Pradip Borge says:

    Use Handle & Pedal Operation For Bicycle Pumping. Which Is More Effective Than Only Pedal peration.

  10. kishan says:

    pls can i get the write up and the bycycle water pumps set up

  11. praveen kumar says:

    hi guys , we have mango trees and a pond near by ,ihave to pump water from it so i need this pedal powerd .. my no 09052160143 . iam waiting for u guys i want it as soon as posible

  12. ajit gote says:

    i have owned small farm i need bycicle peddle oparated waterpump where can i get it pls send me details

  13. tiepose says:

    What are your thoughts about this new hand pump machine? http://wellwaterboy.com/id88.html

    It operates the same pump cylinder system used for a 12 foot diameter windmill and pumps 6 gallons a minute. No hand pump in the world can do this!

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