I am not as involved with handpumps as I was 15 or so years ago when I briefly served as a handpump repair instructor for Living Water International at its Quantum Lakes facility in Cleveland, TX. Since then I have been a lurker on many discussions involving handpumps but not directly involved. So I'm a little behind on the state-of-the-art.
It's no secret that when it comes to village-level potable water supply in developing countries the 'handpump problem' is a daunting one. Progress has been made, but the consensus seems to be that we have not yet solved the problem. High-quality, durable handpumps are available for a price, but the following characteristics are desired: inexpensive, durable, mechanically simple, easy to use, easy to repair with readily-available parts, and 'contamination-proof'. Tall order, I know, but a worthwhile objective.
So where am I going with all this? Always a good question. Back in time, actually.
Five years ago Francis T. Mandanici, an attorney and a former Peace Corps volunteer (45 years ago in northeast Thailand) in Bridgeport, CT, sent me an unsolicited report on The Village Well Project. It provided a brief, well-documented overview of handpump issues, recounted his effort to improve on a design (The 101 Well' - see below and page 27 of the report) while in Thailand, and mostly a call to action, specifically directed to universities.
Here is his cover letter to me and the report:
I replied to Mandanici but never heard back. I didn't do much with the report except to send it to some colleagues who knew more about hand pumps than I. I don't recall hearing much from anyone. But I found it the other day and after reading it through several times I thought I would post it and see what happens.
Given that his design is 45 years old I question whether it can help much in 2015. I don't think Mandanici is proposing that his 101 Well (as depicted below) is the ultimate solution, but the basis for one. I await your comments.
"Nature doesn't break, it only bends." - Unknown