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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Play-Pump 

I think this is a really cool rural-development idea: The Roundabout Outdoor Play-Pump.
Cavorting on a roundabout has always been fun for children. Now pure, clean borehole water can be pumped into water storage tanks while the playground roundabout equipment is in use. The Play-Pump is a specifically designed and patented playground roundabout that drives conventional borehole pumps, keeping costs and maintenance to an absolute minimum, while entertaining the children.
Basically, as kids spin around on the merry-go-round, water is drawn out of the ground into an easily accessible storage tank.

To cover maintenance costs for the Play-Pumps, advertising is sold on the sides of the storage tank. The advertising space can also be used for educational campaigns about HIV/AIDS and other issues of concern. Trevor Field, one of the principals behind the Play-Pump, made his fortune in outdoor advertising, so I guess the billboard aspect of the project is no surprise.

In a report yesterday afternoon on the Play-Pump, "The World" called it "a merry-go-round with a mission," giving kids both something to play on and an easy-to-tap supply of clean water. World Bank DevNews has some photos and this quote from Field: "There's nothing quite like children's power as a pure energy source."

According to an article in Engineering News, more than 300 have been installed across South Africa and the first ones have been in use for more than a decade.

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