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The Water Motor
The Water Motor

We all know how an industrial electric motor operates. You have a power switch. It turns electric current on and off to an electric motor, which then does work. That work can be pushing a cart, a fridge, a submersible water pump, or any number of rotary devices. What do you do off the grid, in the mountains of South America, where there is no power supply? What do you use to give power supply for your electric motor? Enter Ron & Diane in Bolivia, and their “Water Motor“. A unique Micro-Hydro device that uses the power of a falling stream to power stationary devices like saws, mills and generators like home generators and so on.

“Most of the common machines used in workshops, industry, and farms are driven by motors of only 0.5 – 5 horsepower. The Watermotor will produce this amount of power at an extremely low cost and with a minimum of ecological disruption.”

That’s right – cheap electricity, lower cost than solar panels for example.


Micro-Hydro Design Manual: A Guide to Small-Scale Water Power SchemesMicro-Hydro Design Manual: A Guide to Small-Scale Water Power Schemes – buy it from Amazon US
Micro-hydro Design Manual: Guide to Small-scale Water Schemes – buy it from Amazon UK

A few of the nice features of this unit is that it doesn’t require a great volume of water, so the traditional dam does not need to be constructed, reducing cost, complexity, and ecological impact. It’s also designed to be locally serviced, and locally produced, enabling 3rd world villages to not only have low cost power, but a local industry. These units are typically built/owned at the village level as a benefit to all.

The model 90 has a 90mm (3.5″) Turgo turbine wheel and can use 4 water jets of up to 12.7 mm (1/2″) in diameter. Because it is smaller in diameter this wheel will turn at higher revolutions than the model 150 at the same water pressure.

The model 150 has a 150 mm (6″) Turgo wheel and uses 4 jets of up to 7/8″ (22.2 mm) diameter. This is three times the volume of water as a 1/2″ jet, therefore producing three times as much power with the same incoming pressure.

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