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Treadle pumps, India

About the project

The project, ‘Promotion of Low Cost Irrigation Device in Eastern States of India’, addresses the energy needs for irrigation and facilitates the marketing of a low cost irrigation device, called a ‘Treadle Pump’ (TP), among the small and marginal farmers of the six Indian states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.


The foot-operated treadle pumps – made from locally available materials like bamboo, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes, or similar flexible pipe material – are designed to pump water from shallow aquifers or surface water bodies.


How does the project contribute to carbon reduction?

The manually operated treadle pumps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by replacing the diesel-powered pumps that would ordinarily have been used. Each pump reduces the estimated 477 kg of CO2 per year a diesel-powered pump would produce. Over 68,000 pumps were sold under the project, which are expected to reduce emissions of 84,415 tonnes of CO2 between 2012 and 2015.


Who is behind the project

The Project is developed by International Development Enterprise – India (IDEI). IDEI is a multi-award winning organization, committed to improving the conditions of families in need, with special emphasis on the rural poor. It does this by identifying, developing and marketing affordable, appropriate and environmentally sustainable solutions. bp does not make a profit from the bp Target Neutral programme1.


IDEI promotes technology and services under the “KB” brand: “Krishak Bandhu” or Farmers’ Friend. The portfolio of KB technologies includes the KB treadle pumps, KB Drip and the Sprinkler Irrigation systems. These technologies help farmers, mostly practicing rain-fed agriculture, to adopt irrigated agriculture and to increase the crop from one harvest per year to at least three.


The project has received support and acknowledgement from organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ashden Awards and the Acumen Fund.


Key benefits

  • Expected carbon reduction of 84,415 tonnes of CO2 between 2012 and 2015.
  • Farmers empowered by giving more control over irrigation and the opportunity to grow a wider range of crops.
  • Advisory services offered to farmers to help improve and diversify crop range leading to better living standards.
  • An average increase of INR 24,500 (USD 393) to the farmers’ income. This increased income has enabled farmers to improve their physical and human capital by purchasing land, livestock, TVs and other assets; and by educating their children.
  • Significantly reduces the need for seasonal migration of the father thus reducing the reliance on wage labour.
  • Greatly benefited children’s nutrition and education due to additional available income created.
  • Watch this video to find out more about how this project is transforming lives.