How I Built my Dam ebook

In the summer of 2013 I decided that I needed to have a dam to install a microhydro system. This is the story of how I started the Dam and what happened to this idea after a year of work. Please download the book and laugh, cry, and learn with me as I tell you about my adventure. …

dam pipes1 dam blocks1

How I Built my Dam The Book

File is 38MB

I sure learned a lot from this experience and cant wait to share with you all the mistakes that I made. Enjoy your read.

As you read I would like to let you know that this is a failed attempt and I will be making a flume in the place of the dam. This book is not intended to teach you how to make a dam. Just for fun.

23 thoughts on “How I Built my Dam ebook

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    • Seth Johnson

      The ram pump can get water to 50 feet with a head pressure of 8 feet. If you have 9 or even 10 feet you can expect a higher flow rate at the top. Each pump can deliver water to this height with the right head pressure. the difference in pump size is the water usage and delivery flow rate. (smaller pumps need less water to run and also deliver less water at the top.)

  3. If I need to push the water 135ft up the hill from the ram but only have 2 feet of head from my spring to the ram with a 60ft drive pipe, my guess is I’ll need to use a stand-pipe to accomplish it…so, should I go with your biggest ram. I don’t’ need a lot of water as it’s just for three horses and a few chickens for now. Your input would be greatly appreciated so I can make the best choice for my purchase. Thanks, P.S. I luv your videos!!!

    • Seth Johnson

      With 2 feet of head pressure you can expect to get water to 14 feet. This is much lower than the 135 feet you are looking for. you would need to have around 20 feet of head pressure to get to this hight. This is actually getting close to the max hight a diy ram pump can reach.

      • Seth does this ratio uses the same size of drive pipe and the output pipe?…i’m interested to built my own ram pump upon watching your videos.

        • Seth Johnson

          The drive pipe needs to be the same size as the waste valve. The delivery pipe can actually be any size you like.

          • what would happen if you start with say a10 in diameter and then slowly scale it down to a 1inch diameter into the ram pump, wouldn’t this give much more needed pressure and push water higher?

          • Seth Johnson

            It is actually best to have the drive pipe match the size of the waste valve. When the pipe is stepped down like that you increase the potential going downhill but when the pressure wave has to go uphill against the larger pressure the wave is reduced.

  4. We have an artesian well that gives me about 13lb of pressure and 300gpm. The resevoir is 1700ft from the well with a gain of 220ft. Currently the resevoir get filled with an electric pump and generator. Would it be possible to change this over to a ram pump? Im not sure how to math this out.

    • Seth Johnson

      Hello. You would need to use the 13 pounds of pressure to bring the water up to a tank. From there you can run the ram pump. One of the main things to consider when using the ram pump is that you must have head pressure. Flow rate alone is not enough to get the pump going. 1700 feet is no problem for the ram pump. The issue is going to be with the 220 feet of lift. Most ram pumps will top out at 180 to 200 feet of lift. You would need around 25 feet of head pressure to lift water this high.

      • Seth, he said he had about 13 PSI which is about 30′ of head. Theoretically you should be able to get the water up the 270′. Why is there a maximum of 180-200′?

        As an alternative, couldn’t he use a large pipe going up, say ~8″ Getting him up to another tank then go to another smaller pipe, say 3″ and use another ram pump to take him up the rest of the way?



        • Seth Johnson

          There are pumps that can deliver water that high. The issue with getting water to that height with the pumps on land to house is the weight of the waste valve. Once you get head pressure above 25 feet you start to have an issue where the valve closes and does not reopen. Extra weight would need to be added to the valve to make it reopen.

          I have tested cascading ram pumps and it is not efficient. It was better to use one large pump as high as it would go rather than trying to get two pumps going higher. Now if you want to fill a large tank and then use that to run a second pump you can. That method does work. Just not running both pumps together at the same time one from the other.

    • Seth Johnson

      I have not installed a ram pump into shower before. Do keep in mind that the water from a creek is not filtered. The ram pump has a low flow output. I would run the delivery pipe to a storage tank and then use that water for the shower.

  5. Seth, you mention that the pump can be under water. how deep can the pump be set before the water pressure compromises the function and or flow rates. thanks……

    • Seth Johnson

      I am looking to remaking my underwater video soon. When you place a ram pump underwater you gain head pressure and lose pressure due to hydrostatic pressure. So there is no gain or loss. Now you do have to have the intake above the body of water that the pump is resting in.

  6. How far up hill will the ram pumps pump. I need one that will pump a little over half a mile. Is this possible? And what would be the cost for it?

    • Seth Johnson

      The models that I build will top out around 180 feet of lift. This requires a large head pressure of around 25 feet.

      My personal tests are around 600 feet of horizontal distance but I have heard of delivery over a mile.

  7. Hello Seth
    I have a total distance of 230 meters to go from 0 to 70 meters high. Do you have. A solution for this that can be made in stages? I would love to have your opinion based upon the excellent experiences you have made

    • Seth Johnson

      230 meters is not an issue for the ram pump. The problem is the 70 meters lift. The pumps found on Land To House are only able to lift water to 56 meters max. The issue with stages is the water loss from step to step. There will only be about 10% or less water from one stage to the next. This means that you will be out of water fast.

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