07 Nov 2007

Afghans now using RP ram pump technology

  • Old ways
  • Near tank
  • Pipelaying
  • First water up.jpg
  • Flool valley hydraulic ram pump
  • Explaining
  • Turnover

In September to October this year, AID Foundation set up the systems in the 'Kunduz River Basin Programme' in Northern Afghanistan. The project is contracted by Mercy Corps, an organization that has long been in Afghanistan to carry out development programs in the area funded by the European Union funds.

Auke Idzenga, a Dutch development worker and head of the Appropriate Technology Department of the foundation, together with technical staff Felix Inocencio went to Afghanistan to install the system and teach the technology to the locals.

Idzenga in a statement said that despite difficult circumstances like availability of materials, ongoing Ramadan, a lot of travel time and security problems, the project pushed thru and generate water- more than what is expected.

"The installations itself all produce more water than was agreed and expected. On the highest site, the water is pushed up to 145 meters in a volume of 5,200 liters per day. More than enough to water the planned trees on the five hectares land," Idzenga added.

Prior to the installation of the ram pump systems, Paul Smith, manager of the Catchment Development Program of Mercy Corps, had set up field offices, hired engineers and agriculturists, set up nurseries but was faced with the problem of having water in the rivers but not on the hills (which are his target for planting trees). Looking for a solution, Smith remembered the hydraulic ram pump in a brochure given to him by his brother 30 years ago.

In his searching and Smith got attracted to the ram pump of AID Foundation because of its combination of durability and the local availability of spare parts. Other suppliers dropped off the list because they were too expensive, not repairable locally or they didn't want to come to Afghanistan to do installation and technology transfer.

Not long after, a contract was signed for three installations and training of the local farmers who will be using the ram for irrigating their hills for the growing of fruits (apricot and apple) and nuts (almond, walnut and pistachio).

Afghanistan is known for a lot of things: Russian Invasion, high mountains, infamous Taliban and agriculture.

Most agricultural lands are rain fed and when not cultivated look like a desert. The soil is still very fertile (mostly silty clay loam) but 80% of lands are subject to land erosion. The last two decades 70% of its forest got lost and right now people uproot bushes for cooking and heating and the many animals grazing the hills do the rest. According to the statistics only 2% of its forests are left. The water tables are dropping fast and many people rely on surface water for drinking. (PIA/EAD)