Notes to broadcasters
The following script outlines one possible solution to water scarcity during the dry season: the groundwater dam. Groundwater dams store water underground, rather than on the surface. Water that is stored in the soil does not evaporate like ponds and streams. It is clean and healthy – parasites will not contaminate underground water. The key is to find ways to capture wet season rainfall underground. There are many ways to do this, both traditional and modern; but whatever method is used, the principle is the same: slow down the flow of water as it runs downhill.
Each region will have its own traditional solutions, based on its own unique needs for water, its soil structure, its climate, and its social structure. You will want to do some research on the needs and capacities of your area to make the script relevant.
The groundwater dam requires a fair amount of labour to complete, but the technology is not difficult, and the rewards are considerable. This script is intended to show how one community was able to build a groundwater dam to solve their water problems. It is not meant to provide step by step instructions to build a groundwater dam. Further technical details on how to build and maintain the groundwater dam are available in the resource materials listed at the end of this script. You might want to do further research and let your listeners know where they could obtain more information.
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- Contributed by Vijay Cuddeford, researcher/writer, North Vancouver, Canada.
- Reviewed by Chris Reij, International Cooperation Center, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
- Shenkut, Mesfin. Rainwater Harvesting with Subsurface and Sand Dams.
- Raju, Dr. K.C.B. “Groundwater Dams.” Catchwater. Apr. 2000. Centre for Science and Environment. Centre for Science and Environment, 41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi 110061. Tel: 26066854, Fax: 29955879.
- Nissen-Petersen, Erik. Water from sand-rivers. 23rd WEDC Conference Durban, South Africa, 1997.
- “Sand dams regenerate baragoi.” Kit Newsletter. Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG).
- ITDG East Africa, PO Box 39493, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +00 254 20 2719313, Fax: +00 254 20 2710083, Email: email@example.com
- ITDG Zimbabwe, Number 4 Ludlow Road, Newlands, Harare. Tel: +00 263 4 776107, Fax: +00 263 4 78815, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- “Sub-surface dams, small dams, and sand dams.” Sourcebook of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in Africa.
- “Subsurface Dams.” WaterAid. WaterAid, Prince Consort House, 27-29 Albert Embankment, London, UK SE1 7UB.
- Falkenmark, Malin, Patrick Fox, Gunn Persson, and Johan Rockström. Water Harvesting for Upgrading of Rainfed Agriculture.