PlayPumps provides clean water in sub-Saharan Africa plus many other benefits. | AzSustainability.com

PlayPumps provides clean water in sub-Saharan Africa plus many other benefits.

Sometimes a simple idea is all you need to produce great benefits to people in need. PlayPumps are marry-go-rounds that enable people access to clean water in areas of Africa that previously had none. As children play water is pumped from the ground into a storage tank on a tower at a rate of 370 gallons an hour. Women and girls in many areas in Africa walk an average of 5 miles to fetch 5 gallon containers of water everyday. Obviously this really sucks, and on top of that unsafe water and lack of sanitation are the single largest cause of disease worldwide. Babies and children are sickened everyday from drinking unsafe water causing lost school time and often death. That is why the non-profit PlayPumps International is working to install  access to clean water in areas that need it. So far they have installed more than a thousand of these systems with a goal to have four thousand installed by 2010.

Play Pump, kids playing

How does it work?

How play pump works

While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round (1), clean water is pumped (2) from underground (3) into a 2,500-liter tank (4), standing seven meters above the ground.

A simple tap (5) makes it easy for adults and children to draw water. Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the borehole (6).

The water storage tank (7) provides a rare opportunity to advertise in outlaying communities.  All four sides of the tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two sides for health and educational messages. The revenue generated by this unique model pays for pump maintenance.

The design of the PlayPump water system makes it highly effective, easy to operate and very economical, keeping costs and maintenance to an absolute minimum.

Capable of producing up to 1,400 liters of water per hour at 16 rpm from a depth of 40 meters, it is effective up to a depth of 100 meters.

So what other benefits do people get from these water systems?

  • Access to clean water promotes better sanitation and hygiene.
  • Promote Play, children get a safe maintained place to play which is often not the case in most parts of Africa.
  • The pumps are manufactured in Johannesburg and installed by a African group called Roundabout Outdoor. This spurs  job creation, community involvement, and ownership at a local level.
  • Billboards on the tower educate about HIV/AIDS helping to reduce the impact of this disease.
  • Help reduce barriers to education because many schools do not have access to clean water.
  • Increase opportunities to women and girls that previously had to walk 5 miles a day to fetch water.
  • Spur Economic Development because less time is spent fetching water and being ill from drinking bad water.

PlayPumps international is looking for donations or any help you can offer, please visit their website for more information.



5 Responses

  1. Tracy Says:

    What an amazing idea! Think we could get one in Maricopa?

  2. washlink Says:

    forum on http://www.watersanitationhygiene.org s reports that the quailty is such that the break
    “We had more complaints about Playpumps again, in Mozambique they tried, but is was a complete failure, due to the previous reasons mentionned (children dont want to play for water in the end, women get dizzy and only little water comes out, when the pump fails, nobody comes to repair, etc.).”

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