KIMMIT SAYERS, BRIAN CORCORAN, ANDREW CLARKE, LAR BOLAND
The simple, manually operated suction hand-pump provides an essential lifeline for millions of people around the world, especially in developing countries. However, broken and poorly performing pumps are a common sight, and limited resources often mean that their maintenance is neglected. Until now, this vital device has undergone relatively little design analysis. For example, small solid particles contained in the water can act as abrasives as the suction pump draws groundwater to the surface. Over time, this wears down the seal resulting in women and young children, who typically collect water, expending a lot of physical energy and time on the task of water collection. Research into more durable pump seals is currently being conducted in Ireland in collaboration with Ugandan researchers. This research forms one part of the ‘Water is Life’ project, the overall aim of which is to conduct research that supports sustainable water resource management as a catalyst for sustainable economic and social development in the Makondo area of rural Uganda. Water Wear allows visitors to operate a pump and experience the workload that young arms must endure. Accompanying video screens show both the real world setting for the pump in Uganda and the research work in the laboratory in Ireland testing new seals.