A pump for small scale irrigation and only limited use for drinking water.
The treadle pump was developed as a simple foot operated pump for small scale irrigation. The pump is a suction pump in which the two pistons are activated via a pedal. The extended pedal acts as a counterpoise to push the piston back. The treadle pump is a simple and reliable pump with very few moving parts thus wear is reduced. It is easy to repair and maintain The stepping movement of the operator is ergonomically favourable and makes it easy to pump for prolonged periods, thus well suited for irrigation. The pump has limited use for drinking water as the spout is at ground level. Typically, Treadle pumps are installed in collapsible tube wells with the screen extending to the coarse sand aquifer.

Materials used

All components (or junction box): are made from mild steel; Piston-mild steel with plastic seal (cup Seal); foot valve-leather flap; rising main-PVC pipe or bamboo; various types of screens are used.

Installation and Maintenance

The installation of the Treadle pump is easy and does not need any lifting equipment or special tools. The drillers who sink the tube well with the sludger method also install the pump. This pump has an excellent potential for maintenance by the users. All repairs can be done without the use of tools.  


Artisan workshop: small scale production of handpumps in small workshops with few tools using locally available materials

Technical details    

Pumping depth (Lift): 0 to 6 m
Cylinder dia: 3.5 inch and 5 inch
Stroke: Variable
Yield:    (75 watt input, at 5 m head) ~ 4.5 m³/hour
Population served: 0.25 hectare
Type of well: collapsible tube well or dug well   


Approx USD 100-200 including tube well (depending on installation depth and drilling method)


About 2,000,000 treadle pumps were sold Bangladesh  and about the same number in India

Further Information

BAUMANN, E. (2011) Low Cost Handpumps. RWSN Field Note 2011-3 , RWSN , St Gallen, Switzerland

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