Sustainable Water Extraction and Distribution System for Agricultural Applications in Namawanga, Kenya

EPA Grant Number: SU833507
Title: Sustainable Water Extraction and Distribution System for Agricultural Applications in Namawanga, Kenya
Investigators: Teel, Wayne , Fenzel, Matt , Wright, Colin
Institution: James Madison University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: April 30, 2006 through July 31, 2008
Project Amount: $5,996
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Challenge Area: Agriculture

As the world population continues to grow, there is an ever pressing need for accessible water resources in order to ensure crop yields to feed rapidly expanding communities. Certain sustainable agricultural technologies can help alleviate many of the issues surrounding this food shortage. Partnering with the non-profit organization, Least Of These International Inc., this project is designed to create a sustainable water pumping and irrigation system for the Namawanga Community in western Kenya, where current crop yields are not sufficient to adequately feed the entire community. Ease and effectiveness of use, education of users, and downstream impacts are the major challenges faced in developing a sustainable design that meets the needs of this particular community.

Creating a system that is inexpensive, robust, and uses technologies that Kenyans are (or can easily be trained to be) familiar with is paramount when choosing the final design. Due to the lack of raw data from the region, this integrated system will be innovative in that it must incorporate not only a flexible pumping system readily adaptable to a wide range of conditions, but also an irrigation system that can be easily modified to fit the particular constraints of the community. Two pumping systems will be prototyped and tested in choosing the final system design. The first system incorporates a bicycle powered rotary pump, as the bicycle is a familiar piece of equipment to the Kenyans, and there will be an abundance of local parts and mechanics. A concrete-based treadle pump was selected for the second design for its ease of use, wide acceptance, and durability. The two designs will be tested for variables including flow rate efficiencies, durability, robustness, ease of design, and ease of integration with the designed drip-irrigation system in order to determine which system is better suited for the Namawanga Community. After the adequate system is chosen, education of the community on the benefits and impacts of the system will further the mission of the “3Ps”. The project, when implemented, will increase crop yield and economic well-being of the community, decrease hunger, educate, and increase the overall quality of life for the Namawanga Community.

Supplemental Keywords:

FAO, Swiss Concrete Pump, Suction Treadle Pump, Pressure Treadle Pump, Sustainable Agriculture, RFA,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006
  • 2007
  • Final Report