June 18, 2018
What happens when an associate from Buckman’s water division uses his knowledge of pump systems to build a non-electric water wheel in Uganda, Africa?
Aaron Goodman, of Paducah, Kentucky, and the non-profit organization Beyond Uganda, used their skills to design and build a peristaltic pump water wheel in a village in Uganda. The wheel provides a continuous water supply for crops and fish farming ponds in an area that often struggles to maintain a stable food supply.
The non-electric pump floods fish ponds to grow tilapia, a much-needed protein source, and brings water to the irrigation tanks for the crops. If water is flowing, it spins the water wheel which then turns the spiral tubing attached to the wheel creating a peristaltic-type pump which allows the water wheel to pump at higher elevations. “The kids and adults were amazed by how the water wheel worked and were ecstatic about using it for crop irrigation. One Ugandan said it would completely change how they irrigate crops” said Goodman.
Drought is a serious issue in Uganda and other third world countries. Families contribute to their own food supply by growing their own food in their backyards. When a drought occurs, there are fewer crops for family members to eat. Most Ugandan’s use their crops and livestock to barter in the market so
many are faced with starvation during drought times. Therefore Irrigation is vital to survival and sustainability of Ugandan people. “Having a way to irrigate crops during drought season means they can provide food for their families and have products to sell. If there isn’t a way to irrigate, then the crops or food for the next day won’t live.”
Children in the area got involved by helping build the non-electric water pumping system. “This was not just about the wheel, but inspiring adults and children to have hope that they too can build something that can improve their lives.”
During their trip, the group also constructed a shallow well for drinking water and assembled a solar package to power a solar sump pump to assist the water wheel in filling the ponds. “It was definitely an honor to use the talents and skills I use daily at Buckman to help others have a more permanent means of clean water and crop irrigation.”
How the water wheel works: The peristaltic pump is a water wheel that rotates clockwise and is powered by creek water flow (or manually if the flow isn’t strong enough). As the wheel spins, the intake (the open end of the spiral tubing on the outer diameter) spins with the wheel and continuously catches water and air. The air compresses and forces the water to the center of the pump where it is pumped through the shaft of the wheel. A swivel connection is used at the end of the shaft where a ¾ inch hose is attached. This water can then be pumped into the ponds located behind the water wheel that are used for fish farming and irrigation.