Monday, February 9, 2015

Providing Water

You just bought this piece of property, closed escrow two weeks ago. You know where you're going to put your house and the septic tank. You know there are some springs somewhere up the hill by those oaks. Now what?
You open the book Providing Water, a Practical Field Guide, and sit on a stump and start leafing through it. Says here that with gravity feed, you can have a complete water system including reliable treatment with no power, no chemicals, and no replacement cartridges. Hey, this would work for the local charity's project in the Philippines, since they don't don't have power at that village or the money to buy chemicals or a lot of replacement cartridges. Cool.
 Hmm. How much water do I need? Find the chapter about assessing the need and you find out how much a person needs per day for themselves and other uses. That's interesting. Says here how much water you need depends on whether you have to carry the water, whether you have to irrigate, or wash a car, or have flush toilets. And here's a chart that shows how to calculate this. 
OK, next. You march up the hill and find the Woodwardia ferns that the book says grow around water sources. Now what? The book describes your source and how to protect it with a good spring box. So far so good. You're feeling confident now that you will be able to layout the piping and deal with the pressure and air in the lines by following the principles outlined in the book. Wow, that's neat. You can reduce the pressure by putting a small tank halfway down the hill. Who woulda thought?
But, I may need to pump to a higher location. Oh, it describes pumping  as well with choices- solar pumping, diesel, or from a reliable power grid.
You look at the drawings that detail what simple but reliable methods you can employ to remove pathogens, so your water is safe. You can manage this, it makes sense. And it's not rocket science.

The Book project

This project will produce a useful book based on my 20 plus years helping people all over the world source, treat, and provide water. The result will be a high quality document, ebook and paperback, which will include how-to, case studies, drawings, and illustrations. References will be provided for further study. To make this document maximally useful, I will reduce the jargon and use basic language, understandable by the lay person, do-it-yourselfer, development professional, disaster planner, and engineer. With this Field Guide, a person will be able to thoughtfully design and create a basic functional water system from source to tap using field tested techniques and reliable technologies. Topics include:
Table of contents
Introduction to rural water supply
Assessing the need
Assessing the water shed
Identifying sources- pros and cons
Developing a plan
Starting at the source
Community sustainability
Is it working after a year?

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