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The Zoë Pump

the Wells for Zoë pump
Canzee pump mechanism diagram
Dedicate a pump in memory
pump 19D4D006 d4d x Ed Sheeran
girl at new pump

Wells for Zoë use a direct action pump called The Canzee pump. It was first developed in New Zealand by Owen Jones, and was further developed by Richard Cansdale, in Hartburn, near Newcastle in the North of England. Organizations that work with the Canzee pump include Bushproof and Wells for Zoë. The pump is extensively used in Madagascar.


It uses a simple pumping principle. It consists of two pipes, one slightly larger than the other. At the bottom of each pipe is a non-return valve. The pumping movement raises and lowers the inner pipe. The outer pipe remains still. When the inner pipe is raised it lifts the water contained within it. The atmospheric pressure pushes more water into the outer pipe. Each stroke lifts the water in the inner pipe to the top until it runs out through the spout. The pump is self-priming. A thin film of water between the two pipes ensures they do not touch: the pump lubricates itself. The Canzee pump is designed as family pump for serving user groups of about up to 500. It can be used for irrigation of family gardens. The above-ground components (pump head and pump body) are designed for easy dismantling. The down hole components like rising main and pump rod pipes are made of standard uPVC pipes. The only non-plastic components are the pump rod (stainless steel) the pump handle (local hard-wood). Overall the pump is corrosion resistant. Operating depth in Malawi and Zambia where WfZ work is up to 30 meters, in hand dug wells, currently achieving a volume of about 20 litres per minute for those from 0 to 20m. The plan is to install pumps so that no-one’s journey for clean safe drinking water is more than 500 metres.


On the rare occasion that there is a fault, village women can do the repairs with some low cost parts, which are left with the women’s leader and three six inch nails. A pump doesn’t need village committees or mechanics, as the women can be trained in a short time in the little maintenance needed. For a problem they can’t handle, they have a phone number to get a rapid response.


The pumps are made in WfZ factory in Mzuzu, at a cost of about €80 with materials produced in Malawi, while parts cost a few cents and a supply is left with Women’s Self Help groups, in villages and available in the factory. Since WfZ have GPS and depth of each pump installed, the whole pump can be replaced in minutes by a man on his bicycle and just as readily recycled. When the cost of cement and the pipes down the well are added the cost of a complete well is about €150, where the community supply bricks, sand, stone and all the labour.


For small communities this pump ticks all the boxes; being of low cost, corrosion-free, maintainable by village women, and long lasting.


A certain advertiser might say: probably the best, direct action, hand pump in the World.