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Make the stream do the work ! Answered

I live 150' from a swift flowing stream (about 35 vertical feet from stream to house) and I am looking for a way to use the energy of the stream to pump water uphill to my garden and a "water feature" I'm building. My wife is more concerned about how the contraption will look in her yard, but I simply want something that will work. ANY advice would be appreciated ! Thanks


Greetings noodledad1. The search feature is not working for me at the moment, so I will have to just give you directions.

I saw a pump somewhere on this site and the name escapes me. It was made from a pole with a bucket attached to the end, and a hose wrapped around (inside?) it and up the shaft. As the partially submerged bucket is rotated the end of the hose dips in and out of the water scooping liquid as it goes, sending alternating pulses of air and water up to a second level of a house. Could this be fitted with some kind of fin/propellor type of attachment that was driven by the flow of the stream, and some rotating couplings to supply a continuous flow of water uphill to a storage tank? I don't know. See if you can find it somewhere on this site, and if I remember correctly there were a number of instructables on this subject.

What about an Archimedes screw? 

I think DoctorDv probably has laid out the best option (if you are allowed to use the stream). A 35ft head plus enough pressure to run a fountain is pretty significant for anything that isn't run by a pump. For example the ram pump would need a 175'-420' long intake pipe and any air that gets into it can cause problems, it's also a low pressure output.
Remember you will significantly alter the down flow stream by removing water and energy and could possibly introduce contaminates by putting foreign objects in the flow.

Before you invest too much time in figuring out how you can achieve this, you should find out if you can. Most creeks and streams fall under the jurisdiction of some government body, and their rules are pretty strict as to what you can and can't do. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time and/or money to be told you have to remove it all...

He lives in Alabama so stream laws there might be a little less restrictive. However he should check to see anyway. In Montana the state claims ownership of all water and water rights including ground water. He might need permission just to remove water from the stream no matter what method he uses. So yes you are correct, he needs to do his homework.

There might be a "trickle down" principle at work.

There exists something called a hydraulic ram pump,
that can lift some fraction of the water that flows through it to a height greater than the distance water drops across the device. 

I have never built one, but how hard could it be?

What if you had a turbine that turns a generator and charges a 12v battery? You could then have the 12v battery power a pump to pump water from 5 0r 10 feet further upstream. I hope this helps!