Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
What would summertime be without a sopping-wet water contest?
My daughter is training to be a Tough Mudder. Somehow, I can’t picture my sweet daughter running through fire and electric shock cords, submerged in ice water, carrying tree logs and running up a half-pipe covered in oil. Deemed the toughest event on the planet, it tests participants’ stamina, strength, mental grit and camaraderie.
She says it sounds like fun. OK, then.
We’re not that extreme around here, but we do like to have a little fun now and then, which is why we came up with the “Can You Beat Grandma?” video contest. Participants won’t have to fill a tanker truck with water, but they will be challenged to hand pump more water in one minute than our 64-year-old neighbor can.
Never before has there been a hand-water-pumping contest, at least according to Google. A quick online search reveals all sorts of pumping contests at any given time – from bodybuilders pumping up their muscles to firefighters in the bucket brigade and ever-popular hose pumping competition.
Searching for water contests via the web yields equally prolific results. There are prize competitions for swimmers, boaters and even an annual regional water-tasting competition hosted by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts.
But, a hand-water-pumping contest? Never.
From now until July 23, Well WaterBoy Products will award prizes to the top four contestants (2 men and 2 women) who pump the most water by hand, using their own pumps, in 1 minute from a deep well. The grand prize goes to whoever pumps more water than our local grandmother can with our new WaterBuck Pump.
I was amazed at the generosity of preparedness-type companies my husband called about donating prizes. Most said, “Sure!” when he asked for a small contribution. Within no time, we amassed a heap of prizes totaling more than $1,700, including water filters, a distiller, reusable canning lids and a lantern. We’re also kicking in some well buckets and treadle-sewn items.
For a chance to win one of those great prizes, contestants submit their videos online of someone using a hand pump from a drilled well with a static water level of 45 feet or greater. Grandma will be pumping from a static water level of 80 feet.
My husband dreamed up the idea of the water-pumping video contest for two reasons: It sounded like a fun way to show the strength of his latest invention and to encourage people to be prepared by learning how challenging it can be to hand pump for all their needs.
“If people live in the country and rely on their water well for all their fresh water, they should have a good backup way to get that water without electricity,” he said.
Until our drought last summer, I had no idea how exhausting it can be to hand pump water. I was using a common hand pump to get water from a cattle pond for two hours daily trying to keep our gardens alive. That is, until the hand pump broke.
That’s when my husband got busy designing and building the hand pump machine. The device is completely hand operated, uses a windmill cylinder and actually surpasses the capacity of a 12-foot windmill at 80 feet. Now he’s ready to show off its power.
Photo by Linda Greer of Leza Smith with the WaterBuck Pump prototype.
Linda Holliday lives in the Missouri Ozarks where she and her husband formed Well WaterBoy Products, a company devoted to helping people live more self-sufficiently off grid, and invented the WaterBuck Pump.