A hand-operated water pump can be worked by simply using a pumping motion on the handle. Place the intake side of the pump in the water source and pump the handle up and down to draw water into the pump and expel it out the outlet end of the pump.
There are various types of hand pumps available, but all use manual power and internal mechanics to move water from one place to another. Many hand pumps are suction and lift pumps, while others utilize siphons or diaphragms.
The size of the hand-operated water pump should be taken into consideration. In general, it will be easier for the operator to use a water pump with less distance between the water source and the center of the pump. The shorter the distance, the less the suction, and the easier it will be for the pump operator to overcome the force needed to move the pump handle. Of course, the lower the suction force is, the less the resulting lift is. Lift is the distance between the pump and the delivery point, or the point at which the water is expelled from the pump. A smaller lift means the pump will not be able to lift water as high as a pump with a larger lift. A hand pump cannot suction water from a source deeper than 23 feet.
If a hand-operated water pump isn't working, the next step is to check the intake and output valves to make sure they are not clogged.