The Platform Pump is designed for small holder irrigation where significant quantities of water are required to be pumped to a low head. The area which can be irrigated is 1 to 2 acres (4000 to 8000 sq. Metres). As the use of engine-powered pumps is a problem in rural areas, this product offers a realistic and affordable alternative for small holder farmers. With different cylinders from 51 to 152 mm in diameter the Platform Pump from New Dawn Engineering can deliver as much as 5 cubic metres per hour to a low lift , or 350 litres to a head of 65 metres. The pump can suck water from a river, sump or a shallow well. The maximum depth it can pull up is 5 metres from the water surface to the pump. There are three different pressure settings so the operator can set the pumping effort according to their body weight and the pumping head.

Technical Data:

Stroke = 143mm
Piston Diameter = 104mm
Seal type = 2 x Leather cups
Cylinder material = 6mm wall steel tube
Valves = 4 external valves w/ rubber seals
Input Pipe connection = 50mm Swage nipple for 50mm poly pipe
Output Pipe connection = 50mm Swage nipple for 50mm poly pipe
All moving joints have sealed ball bearings
Frame = Angle Iron

The Platform is made from pine.

It can also pump the water up above the operator to various heads. This depends on body weight and cylinder size. The stroke remains 143mm (see table). The connecting pipes must be flexible as the cylinder rocks a little while pumping. The FAO has an international project to promote small holder irrigated crop production. The Crop Production Section of the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives in Swaziland plans to introduce irrigated crop production in the Ezulwini Valley and Luve as well as other places where the climate is conducive to winter cropping.

The Platform Pump is a design study in the efficient use of human weight and effort being matched to the variable conditions found in the region. This includes a wide variation in topography and different uses for pumped water.

The components are locally made to the extent that it is practical to do so. The pump is far more robust and longer lasting than the treadle pumps often seen in the region. All movements have sealed ball bearings and all frame components except the deck are made from steel. This is a single cylinder, double-acting 104mm double-cupped positive displacement piston pump. The cylinder size can easily be changed. The four valves are external so they can be maintained with only a bare minimum of technical knowledge.

Replacement valve rubbers can be made from insertion gasket or old inner tubes.

Three positions for the cylinder change the leverage on the piston.


The Treadle Pump is carried to a place near the water source. The closer it can be placed the better. A flexible hose is attached to the suction side and placed in the water source such as a river, a well or sump. The delivery pipe is attached to the output side of the pump. The operator then steps onto the platform and rocks if from side to side. The distance it rocks varies from 145 to 245mm depending on the position chosen for the bottom of the cylinder. The motion of the platform allows for a longer sustained effort than is possible with a treadle pump.
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Left side of pump with piston down:
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Left side of pump with piston up:
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Front of pump with piston up:
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Hinge at the bottom of the piston:
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Hinge at the top of the piston:
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Demonstration of standing on the pump:
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