Which are the best water pumps for irrigation?
Are you looking for the best irrigation water pumps for sale in Kenya? There are tens of options you can buy and install for use on your farm or home. This post is a guide to choose a cheap irrigation water pump. It looks into four key areas.
- Why you need irrigation water pumps.
- How to choose the best water pump.
- Examples (types) of irrigation water pumps for sale
- Where to buy the best irrigation water pumps in Kenya.
It explains further each of the above topics.
Why you need irrigation water pumps
Around 83% of land in Kenya is arid or semi-arid (ASAL). The farmers and herders in those counties face occasional droughts and overgrazing challenges. A 2016 study shows that drip irrigation can increase crop yields by up to 7 times in Kenya. it will benefit farmers’ income and biodiversity tenfold by watering crops and livestock in dry areas. To water your farm, you need buy or lease a cheap irrigation water pump to push or pull water from the source.
Irrigation is a type of climate-smart farming (CSA). You will supply water for crops on the farm as insurance against the risk of droughts. It will guarantee your yields and income despite low rainfall. Livestock farmers can harvest rainwater in surface and underground tanks and use it to grow and preserve animal fodder crops. During drought, you can use it to get high milk and meat yields.
On disadvantages, irrigation can cause waterlogging, soil alkalinity, and pollution of underground water sources. Besides. it can cause soil erosion and loss of fertile topsoil.
Given the above benefits of irrigation, you may need to consider owning a water pump to try it. Learn about the factors to consider to choose the best. It also has a list of the best types that are available in Kenya that you can buy.
Types of water pumps for irrigation
- Solar water pumps
- electric water pumps
- Generator water pumps (diesel/petrol)
- Motorbike water pumps
- Wind Mills (wind pumps)
Most reviews for buying a cheap water pump classify them as displacement, submersible, centrifugal or surface water pumps.
This article looks at them based on the source of energy. It has solar, electric and fuel water pumps. The fuel-less water pumps like siphons, wind pumps and hydrams are the otther examples of water types.
Solar water pumps
Solar water pumps use sunlight energy. It has a photovoltaic solar panel that converts it into an AC or DC electric current. You can buy the solar surface types for shallow wells, rivers and pools. You will use submersible solar pumps for deep wells and boreholes.
The Solar water pump prices in Kenya is KES 20,000. Though it is expensive to buy and install, it is cheaper in the long run. You will have to pay no bills and they require little maintenance. They are the only choice in off-grid rural areas. The eco-friendly farmers prefer solar pumps to conserve water and energy.
Electric water pumps
Electric water pumps use the electric current from the power grid. You can buy submersible or displacement pumps for your farm. Install the Large farms can install the 3-phase pumps that require substantial power and pump more water. Small-scale farmers can use single-phase pumps, which need less energy. Electric water pumps can be expensive from paying for high electricity bills. The pumps are quiet and produce no fumes.
Generator water pumps
Generator water pumps are the most widely used in the region. They are cheap, portable, and accessible in many towns across Kenya. Besides, they are easy and convenient to operate for any farmer. You can buy diesel or petrol generator surface pumps. Some popular brands are Honda and magnar, etc.
The key challenge with water generators is the use of fossil fuels. Their fumes pollute the air, and they are noisy. The high-pressure water generators price is as low as KES 14,000 from online shops. Secondhand water pumps can ever be cheaper.
Motorbike water pumps
It is a small motorbike water pump you can attach to the engine shaft of your motorcycle engine. It uses a spindle to rotate blades that suck water in the inlet pipe and pump it out of the output tube. Connect it to the engines’ shaft. It’s quick to assemble, very portable and cheap both to buy and operate.
The engine can have 1500-5000 rotations per minute (RPM) when the motorcycle is in an idle run. It can consume diesel or petrol of 0.2-0.4 litres only per hour. Its overhead is 22- 40 m3/hour. (22,000-40,000 liters/hour). The pump can attain a continuous operating time of 100 hours. The price motorbike water pump is Ksh 10,932 in Kenya for a 5 Hp motorcycle from Jumia online shop. Besides a motorbike, you can attach it to mini cultivators or tut-tuk engines.
Windmills use the wind to pump water for many years in many ranches, farms and mines since the 9th century. Wind water pumps use multi-blades or fan-like rotor to move a piston that draws water by moving up and down.
The windpumps have many benefits. The energy is free, has zero air pollution and is low tech to install and run. They are very durable with little maintenance.
The video below explains how a wind pump works. You can use windmills to draw and water crops in summer or dry periods. They are ideal for you if electric power is not available in your area or the bills are too expensive for you.
Siphons are not water pumps per se. You will use a simple garden hose pipe to drain water from a high-level pool, pond or tank into lower-level storage or field. You need to suck water to start the flow. It will continue to drain until it’s gone, or you lift the drain opening above the source water source.
How does a siphon work? View the YouTube video above of a siphon watering system in a cotton farm.
Hydraulic ram pumps (hydram) are fuel-less water pumps used for over 200 years. It uses a hydropower or water hammer mechanism. Fast-moving water gets pushed in a small opening to create hydraulic pressure. It will force water to escape in a smaller pipe to a storage tank above the pump. It can pump water for over 200 meters.
Their benefit is that they are simple, durable and free to operate. Hydrams are ideal in a remote area with a slope. The high-volume water should flow to the pump.
Where to buy the best water pumps in Kenya?
Many companies sell water pumps in Kenya. Some are wholesalers and retailers that you can visit the physical or online shop to compare prices.
If you are looking to buy a water pump in a town near you, consider the companies listed below. They have shops and offices in Nairobi, Nakuru Eldoret, Nyahururu, Meru and Kisumu. They include;
- Jumia online shop
- Sun culture
- Grekkon Ltd.
- Davis and shirtliff
- Elgon Kenya limited.
How to choose the best irrigation water pump
To choose the best irrigation water pump for your farm, consider the following five factors. These are cost, impact on pollution and flow rate. Others are the source of energy and ease of moving it.
- Affordability; You will consider knowing how cheap it is to buy and maintain your water pump of choice. Some types of pumps like petrol and diesel generators have low buying price but may be expensive in the long run from using expensive fuel. Others like solar-powered pumps and windmill are expensive to install but have almost zero cost to run. Besides, some pump retailers have credit arrangements. You can consider buying a pump in which you can afford one through debt.
- Power Supply: Grid electricity is the most efficient source of energy to power water pumps. If you are in a remote rural area, buy petrol or diesel water pumps. Besides, you can use wind or solar energy pumps. Sometimes, the electricity bills may be costly, hence use other water pumps.
- Eco-friendly: Going green and use of clean energy like solar has many benefits for the environment. It helps to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. If your farm has green goals, go for a clean energy water pump like solar, wind pumps, siphons or hydrams.
- Total Dynamic Head: Total dynamic head concerns with the vertical distance you need to move water from the source to the highest point before reaching crops or tank. The other factor is the pump’s flow rate to get the water volumes that you can pump in a day. To determine these, look into the pump’s horsepower (Hp) and its engines rotations per minute (RPM). You will need submersible or shallow pumps based on the source to generate maximum pressure for moving water.
- Portability: Buy a mobile irrigation water pump that you can move from home to different pieces of land. Small pumps like the motorbike water pumps are portable. You will mount them to a motorcycle that you can go with to all places on your farm.