The Ram Pump

Reader Contribution by Heidi Hunt

One of the challenges of a homestead lifestyle is how to move water from one location to another. There are hand and electric pumps for well water and pumps powered by the grid or a generator to move water to remote locations. But what if your water source is downhill, the field that needs watering is uphill and you have no power available to move the water up the hill.

The answer is a ram pump (sometimes known as a trompe). With no external power source at all, you can use the pressure of falling water to push water vertically uphill as far as 65 feet. Commercial ram pumps are available, but you can build this wonderful ‘machine’ yourself for a fraction of the cost.

This 1973 article provides a formula for determining how much water you can expect your pump to deliver, as well as a source, still in business, for a commercial unit. An article from 1979 shows how to build your own ram pump using easy to acquire materials.

If you have experience constructing and using a ram pump, please post a comment below.