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A hydraulic ram, or hydram, is a cyclic water pump powered by hydropower. It takes in water at one “hydraulic head” (pressure) and flow rate, and outputs water at a higher hydraulic head and lower flow rate. The device uses the water hammer effect to develop pressure that allows a portion of the input water that powers the pump to be lifted to a point higher than where the water originally started.

The hydraulic ram is sometimes used in remote areas, where there is both a source of low-head hydropower and a need for pumping water to a destination higher in elevation than the source. In this situation, the ram is often useful, since it requires no outside source of power other than the kinetic energy of flowing water.

Working and System Description of a hydraulic ram

The hydraulic ram is a pump which raises water without any external power for its operation. One essential requirement for the satisfactory operation ofa hydraulic ram is the availability of a large quantity of water with a small positive head or height. This large quantity of water at a small height is sufficient to lift small quantity of water to a greater height. It works on the principle of “Water Hammer.”

The system has a chamber with two flap valves and an air vessel. This chamber is connected to the water supply from a supply tank or a water reservoir at a small height. The supply tank and the pumping chamber are separated by a valve which controls the flow of water.

Advantages and disadvantages of a hydraulic ram



  • No moving parts,
  • No power requirements,
  • Inexpensive,
  • Quiet pumping continuously over a long period,
  • Pollution free or “Green” pump,
  • Simple construction and easy to install, and
  • Only initial cost and very low or negligible maintenance cost.



  • It can pump only one tenth of the received water volume remaining being wasted through waste valve,
  • It must have a continuous source of supply at a minimum height of not less than 3 feet or 91 cm.
  • It cannot pump viscous fluids to a greater height. Usually used for pumping drinking water or potable water.


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