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Figure 1: The Kitjito Windpump. Used to pump ground water in the Bhel region of Turkana for the Nomadic Pastorlists (copyleft Practical Action)

A windpump is a windmill used for pumping water, either as a source of fresh water from wells, or for draining low-lying areas of land. Once a common fixture on farms in semi-arid areas, windpumps are still used today where electric power is not available or too expensive.

The first half of the 20th saw further development, particularly a move toward propeller type wind machines for electricity production. By the 1920's 6 million windpumps were being used in the USA alone and their manufacture and use had become commonplace on every continent.But the glory of the windpump was short-lived. With the advent of cheap fossil fuels in the 1950's and 1960's and the development of pumping technology the windpump became almost obsolete in the USA.

There are manufacturers in several developing countries now producing windpumps. The uptake of wind machines for water pumping, however, has been generally very slow even though the technology is well suited to the demand of many regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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