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Hand Operated Water Lifting Device – A Basic Agricultural Innovation for Marginal Farmers


The tedious and costly affair of lifting water into the fields is a very common irrigation problem faced by small and marginal farmers in developing countries irrespective of the availability of canal water in their area. Irrigation water reaches to fields through various big and small canals but it flows along them at a lower level. Farmers use motor pumps and other conventional methods to lift that water into their fields. This is also true for the rain water which gets logged in ponds or low-level fields during the rainy season. Mostly for the paddy crop, farmers are more concerned to use the rain water wisely as the crop requires a lot of it. At one hand, the diesel-run motors generally used for this work add a significant cost for the small farmers as electricity is either not available or inconvenient, the conventional methods, on the other, are generally less productive and time-consuming.

Features and advantages of the green grassroots innovation

K Sakthimainthan of Tamil Nadu, India has developed a hand-operated water lifting device to solve the water lifting problem at a very low-cost. The machine design is simple and is based on the integration of an air blowing device for creating vacuüm and a propeller. Sakthimainthan has used the device in his 1 acre cultivable land and has continuously improved it through various modifications. The current fifth version of the device in its field tests has shown that at the discharge angle of 26 degree, discharge achieved is in the range of 18,000 to 30,000 lph for 0.5m lift and 9,000 to 22,500 lph for 0.75m lift.

  • Due to its simple, fit at any site and portable nature, this low head water lifting device can be used anywhere.
  • This water lifting device requires just one person to operate and no electricity or any other fuel is needed.
  • It is more productive, easy to operate and cost-effective compared to other conventional water pumps available.
  • It has a selling cost of Rs. 1200 and has almost zero installation and maintenance cost.

Recognition and support for the hand operated water lifting device

The innovation was appreciated by Tamil Nadu agricultural university and was also recommended for the journal published from the agricultural university. National Innovation Foundation, India (NIF) has also awarded this green grassroots innovation. It has also filed a patent application for the innovation.

Since operating the unit by hand is difficult for long periods, Sakthimainthan is also considering a pedal operated version of the device with a more comfortable, sit and use provision.

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