ApproTEC MoneyMaker Deep Lift Pump

Credit: IDEO and ApproTEC-USA

The answer to the question, "Can design change the world?" is clearly illustrated in this human-powered irrigation pump that enables farmers and entrepreneurs in developing countries to pump enough water to irrigate half an acre of farmland. A leg-operated treadle with a motion similar to a stair stepper drives a piston cylinder assembly that extends below ground into the well.

  • The entire pump is manufactured from commonly available materials found in Kenya using manufacturing processes common to the area.
  • Minimum maintenance is required, because the knowledge and tools needed to fix a broken pump are scarce in rural areas.
  • Made from readily recyclable mild steel.

"The ApproTec pump is a design that impressed all of us deeply through its minimal use of materials, purposeful utility, design for use of local materials, and its ability to be easily transported by bicycle. Its ability to utilize deep well holes that can be readily drilled gives small crop growers the ability to expand the diversity of their crops and greatly diminishes their dependency on seasonal rains. This is an outstanding example of sustainable design that contributes to an increase in the quality of life for many. It truly touched our souls as designers." ---Ravi Sawhney, IDSA, President/CEO, RKS Design

Contact: Scott Underwood, IDEO,