Local authorities need to realise that even small concrete water reservoirs, if strategically placed, can play a vital role in sustaining struggling rural communities, avers cement and concrete industry technical services provider The Concrete Institute (TCI) MD Bryan Perrie.
He tells Engineering News that TCI aims to increase awareness about the country’s need for effective water storage, especially in rural areas.
Concrete farm reservoirs are also a familiar sight in most of South Africa’s major national parks, as they help sustain wild life during the frequent droughts that strike the country’s game reserves.
Perrie further explains that the correct positioning of a reservoir sustains and influences the community it is placed in, as it affects the distance one has to travel for water if there is no reticulation system. He points out that reservoirs provide many benefits, including sufficient water supply, floodwater control, power generation capacity, irrigation and recreational use.
Meanwhile, the drought affecting many parts of South Africa has increased the country’s awareness of the need for effective water storage. Perrie says local authorities should follow the example of hundreds of South African farmers and smallholding owners who have, for nearly three decades, referred to TCI’s most popular and durable publication, Farm Reservoirs, which they use as a reference when building dams on their properties.
Farm Reservoirs is a manual that discusses the use of concrete for water-retaining structures for irrigation, watering stock, farm dams, swimming pools and household use.
Perrie highlights that the manual is a useful resource that provides a solution for effective water storage. He points out that farmers are more sensitive to drought than urban residents, owing to their direct dependence on rainfall for their source of revenue.
The manual offers a step-by-step guide to constructing reservoirs in different ways. It also covers the construction of circular reservoirs with reinforced concrete walls, as well as those with walls of fired-clay bricks, concrete masonry and corrugated galvanised steel. Guidelines for reservoirs built with travelling moulds, such as rectangular reservoirs, elliptical swimming pools and drinking troughs, are also included in the manual.
The revised edition includes updated test methods and cement and concrete standards, which have changed significantly since the original copy was published in 1984.
Further, data for estimating the quantities of materials required to construct these reservoirs is also provided.
“There has been tremendously positive feedback regarding this publication since it was revised in 2013,” says Perrie.
“The manual has enabled dam owners to build a structure that will be serviceable for many years, with the ability to retain considerable water pressures when full,” he concludes.