Water Management





WATER Facts:

A child dies every 20 seconds in developing countries due to drinking water infected with pathogens (UN)

That equals 8 jet planes full of children crashing and burning every single day – yes, that is shocking.

That equals 5,000 children … a day

Hundreds of millions live on less than 3 gallons of water per day

The average US household uses 160 gallons per day

Poor water & sanitation causes 80% of all sickness in the developing world- WHO

The water sanitation crisis kills more annually than any war… anywhere

If you lose 20% of your body fluids you are dead

Most people without access to clean water live on less than a dollar a day

Investing in water & sanitation is the most cost effective way of reducing poverty

And here’s the crazy part; the cost of medicating sick people is far greater than the cost of providing for clean water and proper sanitation. WHO

Water shortage: So many times in my travels in Asia I have seen a total lack of water management, so that when the ‘dry’ comes there is not enough water to go around and the crops dry out and die. There seems to be a lot of apathy (in Asia) towards water, which seems odd, as it is such a vital source of life.

Water sickness: Water borne diseases from groundwater accounts for 80% of all sickness in developing countries.

On average, every US dollar invested in water and sanitation provides and economic return of eight US dollars. (see below)

common values for water The Economics of Water … CLICK ME !  to find out more

There are many simple solutions to resolve this common problem.

Water harvesting; it’s as simple as having a fundamental 45 degree sloping external rainwater catchment area (a.k.a. roof) with a stationary non-mechanical rainwater diversionary tract device and integrated gravitational source flow  with optional filter system (a.k.a. gutter&pipe) and a barrel or series of barrels. You pipe the water from the gutter to the barrel and save it with a lid on top; it’s as simple as that! Really! But you’d be surprised at how many homes in Asia (and we are not talking apartment blocks here) do not create this simple measure, then complain when the water dries up. Spread the message folks. Ever read the book Little House on the Prairie? Have you seen the size of the roof they had? Now you know why. This is possible for many homes in Asia that already have rooftops capable of harvesting water, or could be cheaply converted to one.

grassroots wikiI am aware of the difficulties facing other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, that live in mud huts with brushstick roofs or for poor people living in slums. But it would be cheaper and more humane for NGO’s, governments and social entrepreneurs to fit a corrugated roof/gutter/bin to homes, no matter how poor, than it would to continually medicate sick people. No?
I am keen on all homes having a water catchment area, and that is why, it just makes sense.

An even cheaper alternative to a plastic tub would be to dig a hole in the ground and double line it with black/green plastic bin bags; raise the ground level with bricks or dirt and fit a cover.  It’s worth noting that a one-cubic-metre lined hole saves 1000 litres of potable water. That’s a hole lot of water, Mamma! Same system, roof – gutter – drainpipe – (raised) hole – cover – store it! How hard is that?  You dig as many holes and harvest as much water as you want/need. The first water that comes off the roof after a long dry spell will be covered in all kinds of crapola, so, that can be diverted to the garden and used/stored there.
Note: 1 harvested water should be boiled before drinking.
Note 2: leaving water in the sun in a clear PET plastic bottle, the type you buy water in, kills off 99.9% of pathogens after six hours in the sun via UV-A rays.



Can be used for water storage, irrigation & filtration

Farmers in Asia constantly complain that they have lost their crop due to heavenly beings. So, here’s a heavenly solution. As an extension of the domestic hole-in-the-ground option, farmers dig a series of trenches around their rice paddies or vegetable patch. The trench should be about one foot wide, twelve foot long and six foot deep. The top can be covered with a bamboo grid to stop folks & fauna falling in. The walls could be lined with plastic sheeting, cardboard, palm leaves etc or just left. When it rains in the monsoon season, the trench fills up with water and mostly stays there as it clogs up the ‘pores’ of the soil. As the ‘dry’ comes in, the stored water leaches into the water table or can be pumped to the land and Mr Farmer’s crop is saved. Simple, no? trenches can also be partially filled with gravel and used as a grey-water filtration system. Again, simple solutions to common problems. I didn’t invent this, I saw it somewhere in Asia years ago, just can’t remember where now.


Another idea (and I am very fond of this one) is to create a rectangular pond/pool along the side of the house.  It should be about three feet high, two foot wide and however long it needs to be. It can be given a screed of concrete before it is filled up with rainwater. Lots of good things come from having a side-of-house pool.

  • It provides a huge reservoir of water
  • You can grow edible fish (tilapia or similar)
  • You can grow edible aquaponic plants from it
  • It can be made into a very attractive feature
  • The fish water is great for your garden or potted plants
  • It cools the air

Q: What should I construct it with?
A: With kabook-i ® of course, duh!

Don’t have any bamboo? Guess you’ll have to go with bricks then.

water harvesting & grey water management

Grey water: as well as harvesting and storing water, utilising grey-water is almost always overlooked, both in Asia and the West. And yet, having a grey-water system could be as simple as having a fruit tree or trees in your garden. Yes, folks, it’s really that easy. Not only can you find a way to get rid of your shower/sink water economically and ecologically, you get a great, healthy, free product at the end of it. Ideal trees in Asia would be, banana, mango, rambutan, mangostien etc, which are great sources of vitamin C, but equally in the West you could be using apple, plumb, pear trees etc. Why is it that people stopped planting fruit trees in their back gardens anyway? Plant fruit trees folks.
Now, we know you wouldn’t go and pour copious amounts of bleach, herbicide or that old engine oil at the base of your tree, but they will cope with most common grey-water matter.

The same can be done for urine from the UDDT, which of course is full of NPK, Nitrogen Phosphorous & Potassium, which your tree is just going to love. If you are using your UDDT for anal cleansing then this is (one) great way to get the best use of it. Trees are great ‘arresters’ and you will have the biggest plums on the block.

If you want to take your grey water and filter it down so that it is potable again, or at least good enough for a fish pond, then you need to run it through a series of aquaponic filters.  This can be achieved with a simple four part, gravel and aquaponics, gravity-fed, step down. (see above) More on that later.


Why harvest rainwater?
Because in developing countries most of the ground water has some kind of chemical pollution or pathogen.

By collecting your own, you don’t have water full of chlorine and fluoride.
Why not, are chlorine and fluoride bad for us? See below. You decide.


chlorine is often added to water in developing countries to kill parasites/pathogens from infected ground-water; I guess this is the lesser of two evils. But, better to harvest rain-water if you can, no?


Did you know? Leaving a bottle of water in the sun in a plastic soda bottle for 6/8 hours can sterilise it.  http://modernsurvivalblog.com/health/how-to-purify-water-with-sunlight/

Simple & cheap method to safe drinking water. Spread the word folks.

NOTE: this method kills bugs/pathogens, not chemicals. Cloudy water should be filtered so the UV-A rays can better do their job. Lay the bottles down for max exposure. Use clear not coloured plastic PET (water) bottles. Still works in cloudy weather as it is the UV-A rays that matter. Want to maximise? Lay your bottles on silver paper or reflective surface. Simple, no?

this is a great idea but I need to find out more about it. does anybody have any great videos or pdf’s on bio sand filters?

Okay, I just added some more. If you have some first hand experiences let me know: )


looks like the basic principals are the same


slow sand water filters

CAWST: Centre For Affordable Water & Sanitation Technology





Pure Water for the World


From a safety aspect: you could still use the SODIS method after this cleansing stage for a double whammy.


Ram Water Pumps:
Villagers in remote areas often have to carry water for miles, many times uphill; ram water pumps require no diesel or electrical power to pump water hundreds of feet up hills to provide drinking water for humans as well as animals and for agriculture.  Simple, clean technology making life easier for people in developing countries. Not always cheap, so if anyone has a cheap and effective one, let me know. I will post it here.





all about pumps – technical aspects                                                            http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ageng/irrigate/ae1057w.htm#Factors

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