Barsha: An Innovative and Sustainable Irrigation Pump for Smallholder Farmers

Country: Nepal
Date: October 2014 - October 2015
Project Manager: Sujan Piya

Water is essential to life, but many people do not have access to it. Lack of water can mean that land is so dehydrated that crops are unable to grow to feed families. In this project, Practical Action is ensuring an affordable irrigation solution to farmers who live in areas of water scarcity. The Barsha pump is a zero energy water pump which utilises the kinetic energy of flowing river or canal water to lift the water for irrigation. This has been demonstrated in Doti, Lalitpur, Jhapa and Syangja Districts.

Practical Action is piloting the technology for required modification in the technology to adapt to the local situation and increase efficiency. It is a simple technology that works on the proven principle of a spiral pumping mechanism. It is propelled by the flow of streaming water using the kinetic energy to pump part of the streaming water to higher located fields without the need for active mechanical parts to create the pumping action. The pump is a simple-to-operate, low-cost solution that requires virtually no maintenance as it contains only one moving part. Due to this, it does not involve any operating expenses nor does it emit any polluting greenhouse gases and saves almost 70 per cent of irrigation cost compared to conventional irrigation methods.

After piloting of the technology, it is being taken up by other institutions like Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project (WUPAP) which has started to replicate the Barsha pump in their working area. Similarly, Department of Agriculture has committed to pilot four pumps in the coming year.

Practical Action has been implementing this pilot project under Securing Water For Food (SWFF): A Grand Challenge for Development Programme. The project is being implemented in partnership with aQysta B. V., a private start-up company based in the Netherlands and funded by USAID, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and Ministry of foreign affairs, the Netherlands.


Practical Action continuously works with communities to introduce simple and effective irrigation systems to combat the issue of water scarcity and barren land. We have more methods to harvest water in addition to the Barsha pump which you can read about below.



Simple irrigation techniques help families move from malnutrition to self-sufficiency.

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On World Water Day, a demonstration event of a Barsha pump was organised at Haritjyoti Organic Agro Farm Pvt. Ltd in Waling, Syangja of Western Nepal. The demonstration day was organised in collaboration between Practical Action and aQysta as a part of the Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development programme and was a success with the local support.


Demonstration of Barsha pump in Nepal

An innovative and sustainable design of water pump for agricultural irrigation was demonstrated in western Nepal.

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