In clean water projects, we usually consider three factors. First, we consider the source: where to get the water, and the amount and quality or the water. Second, we think about delivery: how to get the water to the people. A third and less well known component in a water system is an appropriate storage system, or reservoir.
The storage systems ideally need to be large enough to meet the community’s needs. Also, ideally, it would be best to find a system that is made from locally available resources and appropriate to the local community so that they can maintain and even expand the system for the future.
Common storage systems are cement tanks. These are typically constructed of hollow cement block and smoothed over with cement to create a watertight tank. They can be above ground, below ground, half-and-half. The below ground structure has the advantage of being stronger due to the supporting soil. The above ground structure has the advantage of allowing for the gravity flow of water at the base of the storage tank.
Storage tanks can come in many shapes: square, rectangular, spherical, cylinders, etc. They can be stand alone or can be incorporated into the building structure of a house. One of our homes in the Philippines was built on top of our water storage system. It gave us a nice cement underneath to our house and was a practical use of space. We kept the water tank clean, treated the water with chlorine, and pumped the water electrically each day to a raised stainless tank above our house. Gravity then fed water back to our home.
Other common storage containers for water are…
- Locally available traditional systems from gourds to barrels to ceramic water pots.
- Galvanized iron or stainless fabricated tanks
- Plastic/fiberglass containers
What are some ways that you have seen or you have stored water for use?