The most common handpump found in our area of work is one that is designed and built right here in India. They can pump water from as deep as 300 feet and are so efficient that they can be operated by a small child. Many of these handpumps are used almost non-stop throughout each and every day. So, wear and tear along with corrosion of the galvanized steel riser pipes and fittings used in these pumps are major mechanisms of failure.
Assisting Seva Mandir of Udaipur, a member of Rakhi Seva helped introduce a handpump repair program during the drought relief efforts of 2001 and 2003. Rakhi Seva has continued to work with Seva Mandir and other organizations to train community members to repair damaged handpumps as part of a “clean drinking water program.” During every training a handpump is repaired.
A handpump mistri (mechanic) is a valuable community asset as he or she enables the community to manage its own drinking water resources. Maintaining a community handpump ensures that the source of water for drinking is clean thus reducing the incidence of water-bourne illness. Although most handpumps are installed in deep, closed, bored wells, some are attached to open wells to help keep those wells clean.
Removing pipe from a handpump well can be a difficult task. Pipe can reach down as deep as 120 to 150 feet (average). All this pipe is removed by hand. The benefit, though, is that repairing handpumps brings the community together. The work may be hard but the result is worth it. The best days are those that see a drinking water source that has been defunct for years produce cool clean water.
Rakhi Seva provides tools, pumps, pipe and handpump hardware along with the necessary skills training. We fully participate in the repairing of handpumps. Lifting pipe out of a handpump well is one way that we can help lift entire communities.