Rope and bucket


A basic water-lifting technology for wide, shallow wells. Bucket is simply lowered into well, filled and then pulled up with the rope. The bucket is typically made of jerry cans, tires, wood or animal skin. Special option for tube wells: bailer bucket. Pulling can be aided with the application of a pulley, windlass or animal power to make water drawing easier.


Very low costs; < USD 20 for a bucket and 10 meters of rope. Construction of a windlass with a closed superstructure might be more expensive, but not exceed ~ USD 150.


Management is simple and can be done locally. A committee can be elected to manage well cleaning and fee collection. A local artisan can repair the bucket, windlass or well cover. External support needed for proper water quality checks.


Low ecological footprint. water quality expected to be main problem, especially with uncovered wells. Rope and bucket can become dirty and cause extra contamination. During severe droughts groundwater might be too deep for using rope and bucket.


All repairs can be done locally using available tools and materials. Preventive maintenance: keeping rope and bucket clean. With windlass or pulley: greasing of bearings. Regular replacement of bucket (~annually) and rope (every 1-2 years depending on use) recommended.


Awareness-raising required in relation to water quality issues: well covering, cleanliness of rope and bucket and eventual household water treatment. Pathogeniccontamination may cause diarrheal illnesses. Depending on level of effort, water-lifting may be inaccessible to children or the elderly.

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