Home · Blog · CHF International : The technology of a rope and washer pump


We’ve received some great questions from supporters asking what it means that some of our wells have “rope and washer” pumps.“Rope and washer” refers to the technology behind a certain kind of hand-pump. Our friends at CHF International, with whom we implemented rope and washer pumps on wells in Ethiopia, have provided us with this useful diagram so you can see just how it works:

The wheel must be turned by someone (with the aid of a crank handle) in the direction shown above. That sends the rope and washers down the well shaft and through the riser to the discharge point, forcing water out through the pipe, as indicated on the upper right-hand corner of the diagram.

Rope and washer pumps are one possible solution for wells in rural communities far from trained technicians. They are a great alternative to more expensive and more complicated factory-produced pumps that can be difficult to maintain.

These simple machines can pump water from up to 25 meters underground. The pumps we used with CHF in Ethiopia were made locally in Addis Ababa by the Selam Vocational Training Center.

In Ethiopia, we are proud to say, we support local education and employment, in addition to helping provide facilitated access to clean water!

*Photographs courtesy of CHF International

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