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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April 2005, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Why pumping water is child's play
Roundabout children
An enjoyable way of pumping water
A company in South Africa has found a way to harness youthful energy in solving the perennial problem of water supply in rural villages.

It uses a playground roundabout to power a borehole pump.

Roundabout Outdoors is now hoping to take the concept to other African countries where water infrastructure languishes behind South Africa.

The play-pump benefits women and girls in particular who can spend hours each day fetching water.

"African and Asian women spend up to six hours a day walking to collect water," Roundabout Outdoor's Trevor Field told the BBC's World Today.

"If we put a play-pump in, if you look at the saving on time alone it's phenomenal, and it does have a massive impact on the health of children and people in general."

Energy

Mr Field describes the device as "basically windmill equipment".

Roundabout and tank
Advertising around the tank helps pay for the upkeep
"It's a positive displacement water pump, and as the children spin around it transfers their energy into vertical or reciprocal motion, and that pumps water from an underground borehole or well to the surface where it's stored in a tank for future use."

With the children pushing the roundabout around 16 times a minute, the play-pump can produce 1,400 litres of water per hour from a depth of 40 metres.

The pump is effective up to a depth of 100 metres. Its manufacturers say a typical hand pump installation cannot compete with this delivery rate.

The play-pumps require an initial investment of 50,000 rand ($9000). Advertising billboards above the pump raise the funds for maintenance.

The South African Aids awareness organisation, LoveLife, is currently paying for advertising space.

Roundabout Outdoor has entered a partnership with the South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to help it meet commitments to supply water to rural communities.




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