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Revision 100126


David Effa and Dr. Abiy Awoke


Basic Metal and Engineering Industries Agency (BMEIA) is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The agency aspires to be a center of excellence for the Basic Metals and Engineering Industries sub-sector in research and development activities. BMEIA has developed a range of products including machinery, plastic moulds, and press tools as customized systems or research activities. In addition, the agency develops suitable technologies for rural communities, in particular, products related to water supply systems. One such product is the hydraulic ram (Hydram) pump, depicted in Figure 1. It is used to supply water for rural communities, mainly for livestock and irrigation purposes. A Hydram pump is a unique device that uses the lower pressure „head‟ (height) energy from a stream of water to pump a small volume of the water to a head located at a much higher elevation. After discovering and refurbishing a station of hydram pumps in Ziway, BMEIA proposed to supply water from the same stream to a small, nearby village (population of about 500 people) using a Hydram pump. The Hydram pump components must be designed according to the results generated from a site survey and an environmental assessment.

from a site survey and an environmental assessment. Figure 1 - Basic components of Hydram pump

Figure 1 - Basic components of Hydram pump

David M. Effa of the Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering (WCDE) Group and Dr. Abiy Awoke of BMEIA prepared this design case study for classroom use. The authors do not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an engineering situation. The authors may have disguised certain names and other identifying information to protect confidentiality.

The Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering Group prohibits any form of reproduction, storage or transmittal of this document without its written permission. This material is not covered under authorization of CanCopy or any reproduction rights organization. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials contact Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering c/o Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1 e-mail: design@mme.uwaterloo.ca website : www.design.uwaterloo.ca

BMEIA HYDRAM PUMP DESIGN WCDE-00088-01 A simplified system arrangement for a Hydram pump installation is
A simplified system arrangement for a Hydram pump installation is shown in Figure 2. These pumps use
the energy contained in water falling from a short height to lift a small portion of the driving water to a
much greater height. In this way, water from a spring or stream in a valley can be pumped to a village or
irrigation scheme on a hillside. The main and unique advantage of the Hydram pump is the continuous
supply of water it can provide to a target area without the need for an external energy source. It uses a
renewable energy source (a stream of water) and hence ensures low running costs, while imparting little or
no harm to the environment.
Figure 2- Basic structural system arrangement for Hydram pump
Hydram pump projects at BMEIA
Provision of adequate domestic water supplies to scattered rural populations is a major problem in many
developing countries. Fuel and maintenance costs to operate conventional pumping systems are becoming
prohibitive as the cost of fuel continues to rise. In recent years an increased interest in renewable energy
devices and an awareness of the technological needs of water supply and management markets in developing
countries have prompted a reappraisal of Hydram pump utility. Although a number of Hydram pumps have
been successfully installed in developing countries, the potential use of this technology far exceeds current
levels of implementation. The main reason for this is a general lack of local knowledge in the design and
manufacture of Hydram pumps. Hence, the widespread use of Hydram pumps can only occur if there is a local
manufacturer to deliver products quickly, and provide assistance with system design, installation, and after-



sales service. BMEIA has taken the lead in developing and implementing this technology for rural community water supply systems.

During a performance follow up of hand pumps developed and installed by BMEIA around Ziway, a city 250 km from the capital of Addis Ababa, a Hydram pump station installed about forty years ago was discovered. The pumps are located in Adami-Tulu village, which is a part of Ziway city. Five Hydram pumps in this

station were used to supply water to a ranch located about 20 km away from the water source. At the Ziway station, only one out of five pumps was operational when discovered. BMEIA engineers refurbished these Hydram pumps back to operational status. The following maintenance was performed on the existing Hydram pumps.

i. The drive pipes of the Hydram station were 4" galvanized steel pipe, and, due to long years of service, were corroded and leaking at many points. The drive pipes were replaced by new galvanized steel pipes. Flanged connections were added for ease of maintenance.

ii. The threaded parts of the Hydram main body were seized due to corrosion. This required re-threading of the Hydram body to fix the valve parts securely.

iii. Due to the cyclic load endured during pump operation, the bolts, studs and nuts must be replaced often throughout the service life of Hydram pumps. New studs were made out of stainless steel and other parts were electro-galvanized for longer maintenance-free operation.

iv. The waste valve-retaining ring was broken due to repeated fatigue loading and corrosion. They were replaced.

v. Rubber parts need to be replaced often during service life. For these Hydram pumps, all the delivery

and waste valve rubber parts were damaged due to wear. Due to the custom size, a new rubber mould was designed and manufactured at BMEIA to make new rubber parts.

vi. Other parts such as the diversion canal gate, header pipes, and intake valves were re-designed and manufactured.

New Hydram pump design requirements

After refurbishment of the old Hydram pump, BMEIA performed extensive research to improve overall efficiency and minimize maintenance costs. The agency designed and manufactured improved Hydram pumps in collaboration with World Vision and other organizations involved in water supply and management systems. BMEIA investigated potential new sites and designed new Hydram pumps with different capacities according to specifications derived from environmental assessment data. Figure 3 shows a new cast Hydram air chamber and main body part designed and fabricated for a 120 litres/min. water supply requirement.




WCDE-00088-01 BMEIA HYDRAM PUMP DESIGN Figure 3 - Hydram part components manufactured at BMEIA BMEIA learned

Figure 3 - Hydram part components manufactured at BMEIA

BMEIA learned that another part of Adami-Tulu village needed an additional water supply and the Hydram pump was selected to provide it. Therefore, a new Hydram pump was required to deliver water to the village from the same stream used to supply water through existing Hydram pump installations. The new water supply is for irrigation and drinking water, including livestock use. The pump needed to be designed to lift water from a depth of 6 m (H) below the surface of the stream to a storage and treatment plant in the village, as shown in Figure 4, with no external energy source. The available fall is based on previously existing

Hydram pump infrastructure, which was reused for the new Hydram pump system. Due to the existing hill between the water source and the village, an overall delivery head (H d ) of 25m must be overcome by the pump system.

head (H d ) of 25m must be overcome by the pump system. Figure 4 –

Figure 4 Schematic of Hydram pump system installation

In order to use the existing Hydram pump installation infrastructure, the new drive pipe requires a 4" inside diameter to fit securely with existing parts. Furthermore, the pump was designed to deliver water at a rate of 80 litres per minute in order to supply sufficient water for the 500 village residents and their livestock.






Following a full assessment of village needs and suitability of the water source, the following design specifications were developed for the new Hydram pump design, Table 1.


Table 1 Design specification for new Hydram pump design obtained from environment assessment


Design Parameter






Supply head (H)



Delivery head (H d )






Source Drive Tank: (L sd )



Drive tank - Hydram Pump: (L dp )



Hydram Pump Storage and Treatment: (L ps )



Storage and Treatment Village/ Tapstand: (L sv )



Water amounts


Water requirement (Q s )



Water source flow (Q)



Pipe diameter


Drive pipe diameter (d)

4” Sch 40

4” inside

Structural dimensions


Drive tank



× 1 × 2

Treatment tank


1 × 1× 1

Reservoir tank



The engineers at BMEIA designed, manufactured and implemented a hydram pump system to meet these needs.




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pp. 88/90. [5] Krol, J.: The automatic hydraulic ram. Inst. Mechanical Engineering Proc. Vol. 165 (1951)


[6] Kraemer, K.: Bemerkungen zum hydraulischen Widder. MPI for Str6mungsforschung G/3ttingen (BRD), Report 118/1978. [7] David, J.P. and Edward, H.W., 1985, Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems of Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics, SI (Metric) Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Singapore.

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of Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics, SI (Metric) Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Singapore.     5  
of Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics, SI (Metric) Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Singapore.     5