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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

Introducing
The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

Watch the seasons unfold right here at our very own allotments

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Pumps

 

We are very fortunate to have our hand-pumped water supply – we don’t have to pay meter charges and we are not subject to water restrictions. However, despite being cast-iron, our pumps are fragile. Please look after them and use them carefully. They are expensive to replace both in cost and in effort.

 

To use the pump, you first need to prime it by scooping water from the overflow tank and pouring it into the gap on the top of the pump where the handle emerges. Pour in water until it starts coming out of the spout, and then pump the handle slowly and smoothly using long strokes until the water is flowing. Different pumps hold their prime for different lengths of time. You may have to prime each time you visit the pump, or it may hold its prime all day. The overflow tank must always be left with sufficient water for priming the pump without disturbing the layer of sludge that accumulates at the bottom of the tank – pouring sediment back into the pump damages it.

 

RPA pump

Instead of filling watering cans directly from the pump, you may prefer to pump the overflow tank full of water and then dip your cans in to it in order to fill them. If you do, please always leave more water in the tank than when you arrived. It is selfish and inconsiderate to use water that someone else has pumped and not replace it –and you will soon become unpopular with your neighbours!

 

If the pump draws up a significant quantity of sand in the water, stop using it and report it immediately to a committee member. Similarly, if a pump stops working, please report it.

 

The overflow tanks must not be used for washing tools, boots, vegetables, etc. Soil deposited in the water can transmit diseases from plot to plot and the dirt and foreign bodies will damage the pumps if they enter the mechanism during priming.

 

Children are not permitted to operate the pumps.

 

To prevent freezing, the pumps are removed for the winter before the first hard frosts and are returned in early spring when the risk of severe frosts has passed. Notices will be posted on the boards advising the dates when the pumps will be removed and replaced.

 

If you choose to put a shed or greenhouse on your plot, we encourage you to fit guttering and water butts to harvest rainwater and take some pressure off the pumps.