The Wood Screw Pump is a low-lift axial-flow drainage pump designed by A. Baldwin Wood in 1913 to cope with the drainage problems of New Orleans. Until the installation of Wood's extremely efficient pumps, the city had experienced chronic flooding problems, bringing diseases such as malaria and yellow fever together with contamination of drinking water supplies. The Wood's pumps are driven by 2,000 horsepower synchronous General Electric motors built in the early 1900’s. The pump was designed to lift a large volume of water over levees some 10 m high into Lake Pontchartrain.
Having proved their operational efficiency in New Orleans, Wood's pumps were installed in India, China, Egypt and the Netherlands. Until the arrival of hurricane Katrina, the pumps had kept New Orleans from becoming waterlogged for close to 100 years. The TurboPiston Pump invented in 2005 by Patrick Rousset, a graduate of the University of New Orleans, promises to far exceed the performance of the old Wood pump.