Barsha – the perpetual water propelled pump

August 14th, 2015

Nepal, a predominantly agricultural country, has thousands of hectares of land located next to rivers and canals. Currently, few land plots are irrigated by diesel pumps that emit carbon dioxide polluting the environment. Looking at the current scenario, Practical Action is promoting Barsha pumps throughout Nepal. The irrigation pump, developed by aQysta B.V. based in the Netherlands, requires no operation costs and is environment-friendly.

Barsha pump, also popularly known as a spiral pump, coil pump, manometric pump, or hydrostatic pump, is simply a water wheel with flexible hosepipe spiralling on it. As water enters through one end of the hosepipe, the rotating wheel imparts kinetic energy to it – enabling the water to force out of the other end and reach to a distance of two kilometres without use of fuel.

Barsha pump installed in Kankai canal, Jhapa, Eastern Nepal.

Barsha pump installed in Kankai canal, Jhapa, Eastern Nepal.

Having installed four Barsha pumps in four development regions of Nepal, the fifth pump was installed in the eastern Nepal on 6 August 2015. A demonstration event, organised at Sundarpur in Shivasatakshi Municipality of Jhapa district, saw the presence of government officials, media persons and locals including the Deputy Director General of Department of Irrigation Mr Bashu Dev Lohani.

The demonstration was organised in collaboration between Practical Action and aQysta as a part of the Securing Water for Food (SWFF): A Grand Challenge for Development Program supported by USAID, Sida and Ministry of foreign affairs of the Netherlands. The demonstration event, conducted with an aim to create demand for the Barsha pump by making organisations and people aware about the benefits and working of the pump, is expected to support the scaling up and wide use of the pump in Nepal.

“Irrigation is of utmost importance for the rapidly growing sector of commercial farming in Nepal,” said Mr Lohani, praising the innovation. “Barsha pump can serve as a milestone innovation in providing adequate irrigation service to farmers.” The technology has the potential of irrigating the elevated fields nearby canals throughout the Nepal. Practical Action and aQysta are working towards localising the manufacturing and distribution value chain, and selling thousands of Barsha pumps across Nepal.

The Barsha pump, installed in the Sundarpur site, is serving around 1.5 bighas (1 hectare) of vegetable farm. The water from the pump travels a distance of 800 metres from the canal where the Barsha pump is installed, before it reaches the site to be irrigated. Two micro-sprinkler heads are directly connected to the Barsha pump, which run continuously 24/7 without any fuel, electricity or operating costs.

A sprinkler, 800 metres away from the water source and connected to the Barsha pump, irrigates the  vegetable crop.

A sprinkler, 800 metres away from the water source and connected to the Barsha pump, irrigates the vegetable crop.

All the people working in the farm need to do is to shift the sprinkler heads to different areas which need to be irrigated from time to time. For the Sundarpur farmers, who had used and abandoned electric pumps because of low voltage and also invested in diesel generators, the Barsha pump is an exciting solution to keep their irrigation costs low and help expand their cultivating area.

Barsha pump, inspired by a similar technology from Morton Reimer implemented by Practical Action (ITDG at that time) to pump water from the Nile River to irrigate the vegetable farm in South Sudan during the 1980s, is based on the stream driven coil pump principle developed in 1746 AD.

The output from a Barsha pump is suitable for irrigating anywhere between 1 to 4 hectares of land depending upon different variables such as type of crops, type of soil, season of irrigation and of course depends upon drip, sprinkler or furrow facility. The pump performs optimally in a river or a canal flowing at a flow rate greater than 0.3 cubic metres per second or a flow speed greater than 1 metre per second. Nepal, a country with more than 6,000 rivers flowing all the year round, is set to benefit largely from the use of these pumps.

6 responses to “Barsha – the perpetual water propelled pump”

  1. Ugranath Says:

    The article gives great development status of the technology, i interested in knowing more about it to utilize in India. Many thanks

  2. Ganesh Sinkemana Says:

    Thanks for showing your interest. I am sharing with you the following document containing pictures and videos of previous installations in Nepal, which will give you further idea about the Barsha Pump:

  3. Lucy Stevens Says:

    Thanks for sharing news of this exciting trail of a technology that looks like it could have lots of potential for small farmers. It’s great to see this focus on energy technologies that are important for small-holder farmers.
    Perhaps you could just clarify for me: is this the first time such a pump has been tried in Nepal? Are they common in other parts of South Asia? And how do the costs compare to the usual diesel pumps?

  4. Ganesh Sinkemana Says:

    Thank You for your concern Lucy. Yes this technology is tried recently in Nepal though the country has its indigenous water wheels. Sorry I am not aware about other parts of South Asia. Regarding the cost of pump, it is quite high as we have to import the technology from the Netherlands at present however; we are trying to localize the technology in the year to come.

  5. Better irrigation : Barsha pump – Newsagro Says:

    […] the hosepipe, air gets compressed by the rotating wheel. This imparts kinetic energy to the water (, enabling it to force out of the other end and reach a distance of about two kilometres.The water […]

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