Posted by on 9/27/2015 to Library


Sold to missionary and other humanitarian groups at the cost of $12 each, the Chapin Bucket Irrigation Kit (families supply their own buckets) appears to be an effective tool for enabling the poor of the world to help feed themselves. The buckets are mounted on posts 3' (1m) high which provides the water pressure for the gravity flow irrigation. Each Chapin Kit consists of fittings and sufficient irrigation tape to irrigate two 50' (16m) rows of vegetables by filling the bucket 1-2X’s daily. These Chapin Kits are already in use in more than 70 countries, and their popularity is steadily growing. [The reason for this popularity is basically threefold: a.) the kits work well, b.) the technology is very simple, and c.) it is affordable (even in many poor parts of the Third World).]

The kits were developed by the inventor of drip irrigation tape, the late Dick Chapin, who founded Chapin Living Waters to promote humanitarian, reliable Third World vegetable production with this simple, inexpensive bucket irrigation system. Click this link to view videos detailing how the bucket kits function:

For more information about the bucket kits, including bulk purchases and larger kits for more expansive projects:

Chapin Living Waters
364 North Colorado Avenue
Watertown, NY 13601


No. 1 Parts for kit; male adapter, rubber washer, female adapter, filter screen, 2 barb fittings, 2 end closers, 2 supply tubes, and drip line for two 15 meter lengths.

No. 2 A. Cut a 1 3/8? hole in the bottom of the bucket [with a hole saw if possible].

  • B. Insert the rubber washer into the hole.C. Screw the male adapter into the rubber washer.

    D. Insert the two supply tubes into the bottom of the female adapter.

    E. Push the filter screen into the bottom of the female adapter.

No. 3 The bucket should be mounted on a stand so that the bottom of the bucket is at least one meter above the soil. One bucket is used for each bed.

No. 4 G. Push the barb fitting into the lower end of the supply tube.

  • H. Push the barb fitting into the drip line and turn the collar to tighten.

No. 5 I. To close the other end of the drip line, fold it over lengthwise.

  • J. Fold it back over itself twice.K. Place the plastic sleeve over the folded end of the drip line to hold it in place.

No. 6 A 15 meter long bed should be quite level. The drip lines are laid on top of the soil, with outlets up. One drip line should be placed next to each row of plants.

No. 7 The bucket is located at one end of the bed.

No. 8 Two buckets can be hung from one stand to water two beds.

No. 9 Usually two buckets of water daily for each bed provides enough moisture. However, extra fillings may be necessary in extremely hot, windy weather or when the plants are very large.


No. 10 A bed is prepared about 1 meter wide by 15 meters long. The finished bed should be elevated about 15 cm above the aisles. The addition of organic materials is used to provide nutrients and to improve the soil structure. A shallow trench is made lengthwise in the bed to receive the organic material.

No. 11 Banana leaves or other green materials are placed in the trench to the depth of about 15 cm.

No. 12 A 5 cm layer of fresh manure is placed on top of the green materials.

No. 13 The trench is then covered with soil and leveled, ready to plant.

No. 14 The cross section of the bed is illustrated, showing the location of the green materials and manure. The drip lines should be straight, without kinks, and located close to the row of plants. It is often wise to first water the bed, using the drip line, and then transplant one plant in each little wet circle of soil.


It is important that only clean water goes into the drip lines. The filter screen will keep coarse particles from entering the drip lines. If there is fine silt in the water or blowing sand in the air, a piece of cloth can be tied over the top of the bucket. Water can be poured through the cloth to keep the fine particles from entering the bucket. If foreign materials build up on the filter screen, it can be removed from the bucket and washed or blown off.


The drip lines should be weighted down with a stone at each end so that they will not be blown away. It is a good plan to take the buckets inside at night to keep them from being stolen. If drip lines are not used during the rainy season, they should be carefully rolled up and stored to prevent them from being damaged.

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