Using free energy to keep the water flowing

Using the energy that's flowing freely through nature is a great way to save money and help the environment. Sometimes it happens to look great as well. When we came across this water wheel, we had to find out the story behind it, so we reached out to Nick Watson for more information. Here's what he had to say:

"My partner and I moved to a small farm from New Zealand’s big smoke, Auckland, four years ago. Since then, we’ve come to understand the farmer’s plight – doing more with less. One such venture was constructing a waterwheel and piston pump to replace the worn-out petrol-powered pump down by the river, which supplied water to our stock tanks. We needed to pump approximately 2000 litres per day, 20 metres high.

"I first considered a hydraulic ram pump or a Wirtz wheel, but the calculations seemed dubious for our setup. So, I set out to craft a simple waterwheel-driven piston pump, with only an instinct for how such a thing might function. Surprisingly, the hare-brained prototype worked. The waterwheel is comprised of wood with metal fins. An iron wheel at the end of the axle drives a simple Scotch yoke mechanism, which pushes the piston. I didn’t want to buy expensive check valves for the pump, so I crafted my own out of rubber bouncy balls and PVC couplings. Works like a charm!

Thanks for that Nick. For more about how they're working with the New Zealand land, take a look at Nick's blog:

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