Customer: “Grundfos solar pumps are a game changer in upgrading from hand pumps”

NGOs and governments in Africa have recently launched initiatives to swap hand pumps with solar-pumping systems. In Zambia, World Vision has replaced 80 hand pumps so far, providing clean and safe water access to 20,000 people. According to World Vision, Grundfos solar pumps are a game changer for the replacement programme.

Hand pumps — an out-of-date, problematic technology 

There are millions of manually operated hand pumps across Africa, thousands of them in Zambia alone. Due to the many drawbacks of such pumps, for both users and maintenance staff, NGOs and governments have been replacing them with solar solutions. 

Hand pumps are prone to breakage and spare parts can be hard to find. Operating them is physically difficult and they produce only a limited flow of water. This makes pumping water a time-consuming task, and those who do it, mainly women and children, have to walk for two to five hours to collect water. Walking such long distances in remote areas exposes them to the risk of assault.  

In the Mapuloti village, World Vision Zambia has installed a solar powered water system using a Grundfos SQFlex pump


The swapping from hand pumps to the solar-powered systems is a good solution to us as an organisation, because it has come at the right time and it’s a game changer to what World Vision wants to achieve in the communities where we are operating — to ensure that women are able to access water within the shortest possible time.
Tiyezye Nyirenda, WASH Project Officer, World Vision Zambia

According to World Vision Zambia, the Grundfos pumps are a perfect fit for rural water. The SQFlex pump is easy to install, maintain and operate and provides high water service levels. It reduces queueing time, and the maintenance costs are modest.

World Vision, who installed over 5,000 hand pumps across rural Zambia, has initiated hand-pump replacement projects more than three years ago.

In Zambia, the most common hand pump is a mono pump that uses galvanised iron rods, riser pipes and cast-iron cylinders. However, the low pH of the groundwater means the galvanised iron quickly rusts, making the water unsafe to drink.  The corrosion also reduces the lifespan of components.  

With a hand pump, women have to physically pump the water. Because of the low water flow rate, this can lead to queuing.


Solar-powered pumps revolutionise water collection

To support World Vision’s WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) strategy, Grundfos has provided low-cost SQFlex solar pumps, which are a suitable solution for replacing hand pumps. 

With the SQFlex, the water is stored in a tank and is readily available for people to draw and take home. The time it takes to collect water is thus reduced to as little as 30 minutes per round trip. 

It’s a game changer for our beneficiaries in the field. Most communities have not imagined a time they would see water being pumped using solar energy. Also, water being readily available for people to use is something unimaginable in the community.
Maybin Ngambi, Technical Programme Manager, World Vision Zambia

The multi-tap solar system installation that replaced the hand pump.


Grundfos and World Vision are committed to ensuring that the new pumping system continues to operate efficiently into the future. Building local know-how further contributes to the sustainability of the system.

 “We engage community members and we provide capacity-building to ensure that they own the process of maintenance and ensuring that the solar-powered systems are sustained.” — Tiyezye Nyirenda, WASH Project Officer, World Vision Zambia

A better life for all 

More than 20,000 people have been reached by World Vision’s initiative so far and their quality of life is considerably better. Now they have access to clean, safe-to-drink water, and hygiene and sanitation related to water collection have improved. The need to physically pump water has been eliminated and the time required for the task has been reduced.

World Vision’s project of replacing hand pumps is ongoing, facilitating access to clean water for more and more communities across Zambia. The projected year of completion is 2030.

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