Forgive me if this answer is already up on here, but I couldn't find anything particular to what I am trying to do. I need to lift water approximately 50 feet vertically and 200 feet horizontally from a river to the top of our property. I plan to have one hose for water coming from the river, a pump at the highest point of the loop, a bleeder valve at the pumps outlet, and a return pipe back to where the intake is in the river. It's just to keep a stock tank filled up for garden watering, so flow rate is hardly a concern. A trickle will suffice as it'll just be used to keep the tank topped up. Is this a crazy plan or does it have a shot. This is the pump I hope to use: https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200578549_200578549?cm_mmc=Housefile--SHIPPED--1206-_-CONF I realize it only self primes up to 12 feet above water source, but I can use what's in the stock tank to prime when needed.enter image description here


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  • $\begingroup$ atmospheric pressure limits you from "pulling" water up more than about 30ft vertically (because it's atmospheric pressure pushing the water up).. Rather, you're going to need to put your pump down by the river and "push" the water up. $\endgroup$ – R. Rankin May 17 at 1:04

Two other solutions come to mind, both don't need switches, batteries or electricity:

Have you checked out a wind powered pumping solution - big enough tank to cover low wind times and let it overflow at others.

See https://growerexperts.com/wind-powered-water-pump-for-pond/

Then what about the water pump based on hydraulics? see


  • $\begingroup$ Wind would be tricky since we have a lot of trees and towers get expensive quick. I love the ram pumps, but I believe they require the water source being higher than the pump, even if the water is ultimately taken to an outlet above the water supply. I might be able to use my pump to get the water into a tank above the ram pump, but then I'd be running power and/or buying solar to install down at the river. It also floods periodically so any infrastructure down there is classified "at-risk" lol. $\endgroup$ – Mattstronaut May 16 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ the ram pump will survive flooding... you can take a small feed from the river to drive a ram pump which fills one reservoir, then a second ram pump fed from that reservoir to fill the tank... seen it done but not arguing about it... $\endgroup$ – user207455 May 16 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ If you have the tallest redwoods to obstruct the wind... however those turbines are found in some wooded areas... $\endgroup$ – user207455 May 16 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Mike for the ideas. Unfortunately with the pump right near the water it's not the actual flooding that would be the issue, it's the trees floating by. They rip docks sunk in concrete right out of the ground. Do you have any tips on my proposed design? $\endgroup$ – Mattstronaut May 16 at 19:40
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    $\begingroup$ pump from below - push the water up, trying to suck that high won't work. $\endgroup$ – user207455 May 16 at 19:41

Water cannot be 'sucked' higher than atmospheric pressure would push into a vacuum; depending on your altitude, that's maybe 30 feet. So, regardless of 'priming', it won't suffice to use a high-located pump.

One easy solution is to dig a pit (sump) next to the water stream, and install a well pump there (where it can pressurize the water for the uphill movement).

  • $\begingroup$ That makes a world of sense. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – Mattstronaut May 17 at 20:31

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