The Tara Pump is a “Direct Action Pump for Low Lift Wells”. It uses a buoyant pump rod that helps to reduce the forces on the handle. It is not designed for heavy-duty use, and can serve small communities of 100 persons. The maximum recommended lift is 15 m. The Tara Pump is a public domain pump defined by RWSN specifications and Indian Standards. It is fully corrosion resistant and is easy to install and has excellent potential for community-based maintenance.

National Standards

Bureau of Indian Standards:

  • IS 14106:1996 - Direct Action Handpump


A pump for drinking water and limited use for irrigating gardens.
The Tara is a direct action pump initially developed in Bangladesh as a measure to counteract the dropping water table that ex-ceeded the range for suction pumps. The Tara Direct Action is one of the most successful medium lifts pumps. Is has been included into the Indian standards. The pump is fully corrosion resistant since all underground parts are made of non-corrosive materials like PVC or stainless steel. Tara pumps are designed for lifting water from bore wells with static water level not exceeding 15 m. The hermetically sealed pump rod, of a relatively large diameter, is buoyant. It displaces water in both the upward and downward stroke and the buoyancy of the pump rod makes pumping operation easy. It is designed as family pump for serving user groups of about 20 to 100 people. It can be used for irrigation of family gardens. Like all direct action pump the operation is not ergonomically fa-vourable, therefore prolonged pumping is not possible

Materials used

The down hole components like rising main and pump rod pipes are made of standard up pipes; the pump rod is buoyant. The plunger and foot valves are injection moulded plastic; The only non-plastic components are made of stainless steel, thus the pump is corrosion resistant.

There are some variants of the Tara, most notably the Tara Dev, which is a Afridev above ground and a Tara below ground (Department of Public Health Engineering)

Installation and Maintenance

The direct action handpump is designed for easy installation. No lifting equipment or special tools are needed. The pumps are gen-erally installed in collapsible boreholes drilled with the sludger method.


Industrial production: large scale production in local industrial units. The plastic moulding requires specific equipment and skills.

Technical details    

Pumping depth (Lift): up to 15m
Cylinder dia: 50 mm
Stroke: Variable
Yield:    (75 watt input, at 5 m head) ~ 3 m³/hour
Population served: 20-100
Type of well: borehole drilled with sluding method 


Approx USD 100-200 including tube well (depending on installation depth and drilling method)


These pumps are used very extensively in India , Bangladesh, Laos, other parts of East Asia and Africa

Further Information

WEDC Videos on Tara Pump

BAUMANN, E. (2011) Low Cost Handpumps. RWSN Field Note 2011-3 , RWSN , St Gallen, Switzerland

ERPF, K. (2005) Tara Handpump Specifications (First Edition). , First Edition , Skat , Rural Water Supply Network , St Gallen, Switzerland

KJELLERUP, B., JOURNEY, W. K. and MINNATULLAH, K. M. (1989) The Tara Handpump: The Birth of a Star. UNDP/World Bank Discussion Paper Series , Water and Sanitation Program , The World Bank , Washington D.C., USA

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