New water technology can solve water resource scarcity in dry season – Manila Bulletin

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By Antonio G. Papa, Ph.D.

According to the 2006 World Water Development report, there are five challenges to surface water supply. These include: 1) dwindling surface water supply, 2) water pollution and contamination, 3) runaway population growth, 4) conflict or competition in its use, and 5) ecological and geological problems.

In rural or agricultural areas, 40% of rainwater is lost through evaporation and transpiration, 10% through runoff, 25% through superficial infiltration and 25% through deep infiltration.

On the other hand, in residential or urban areas, 30% of rainwater is lost by evaporation and transpiration, 55% by runoff, 10% by superficial infiltration and 5% by deep infiltration.

Faced with these situations, the Water Cube, a green and environmentally friendly technology, can help alleviate or solve the shortage of water resources for agricultural and domestic use during the dry months of the year.

Artist’s rendering of the water cube.

The technology could even be used for flood control during rainy days in urban and residential areas. The Water Cube is a technology for collecting and storing rainwater for future use – rainwater harvesting, in short.

This potential water resource, when properly managed, could solve the scarcity of water resources during the dry season. But how? Mr. Jesus Las Marias designed and patented the Water Cube, a new and inexpensive way to store excess water, rainwater in particular, to recover it in the future when the water supply is critical. It’s quick and easy to set up, but it’s a very sturdy and strong water storage facility.

Las Marias, also known as “The Rainman”, an economics graduate who joined the Senate Agriculture Committee as a policy researcher during the enactment of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) of 1997.

He has studied wastewater treatment and water resource management in Japan and urban land redistribution in Taiwan. He is the Advocacy Director of SRI (Rice Intensification System) Pilipinas. Las Marias plans to improve the living standards of rice farmers by increasing their productivity and reducing their production costs.

Its approach to solving the problem of food security is to maximize the use of unused land and the

resources available for food production. One of Las Marias’ current activities is to convert biodegradable urban waste into organic fertilizer for use by the displaced rural labor force that is flowing into metropolitan areas.

The water cube

Water Cube technology uses non-biodegradable materials to form a cube with interior reinforced voids to retain its shape and wrapped in a chemically inert bendable material. Water Cube non-concrete material is virtually indestructible and will not crack in earthquakes.

“The water cube can be built below or above ground. When dug into a hole that serves as a receptacle, the space between the water cube and the earthen wall and bed should be lined with sand to act as a buffer. All components of the Water Cube are factory manufactured, transported and assembled on site,” said Las Marias.

“The Water Cube is a containment system that uses non-biodegradable materials and is assembled to form a cube with voids. Unlike conventional cisterns and reservoirs, the water cube is internally reinforced to retain its shape, then encased in a collapsible, chemically inert material. It is further reinforced with rigid non-biodegradable materials below and above subject to respect. The result is a strong, virtually indestructible waterproof structure. Stacked and locked next to each other, the Water Cubes can store an unlimited volume of rainwater for many years depending on the customer’s needs.

A schematic diagram of the water cube.

As a result, the Water Cube has the following advantages: it saves rainwater, it is easy and inexpensive to install, it is earthquake-proof, it is gravity-driven, it uses the earth’s surface, it eliminates evaporation losses , it can be moved, it has a long service life, it can be expanded or reduced, and it is easy to maintain.

The basic dimensions of the water cube are two meters in length, width and height. A water cube can hold eight cubic meters of rainwater. Water cubes can be deployed side by side or on top of other cubes.

The water cube may be constructed below the surface within the client’s property as determined. It can be dug in a hole which will serve as a receptacle or a pond. The space between the water cube and the dirt wall and bed should be lined with sand to act as a buffer. As mentioned, all components are factory manufactured, transported and assembled on site.

The use of this technology for rainwater harvesting has four economic reasons, namely: 1) to use the ancient wisdom of proven technology, 2) to avoid the water crises facing the country, 3) conserve the country’s groundwater resources, and 4) meet domestic and agricultural water needs.

As a result, rainwater is currently a potential untapped resource – it is simply wasted because it is not collected or stored.

One of the well-known adopters of Water Cube technology is All Certified Equipment Trading Corporation (ACETC). It is hoped that the Water Cube will gain wider acceptance in the Philippines after field trials.

According to ACETC Chairman and President, Benigno Limcumpao, “the need to provide water storage solutions is needed in the Philippines so that rainwater can be harvested and stored for use during the dry season” .

If field trials prove successful, the Water Cube can help solve an important problem affecting many regions and industries across the country.

Photos courtesy of Jesus Las Marias

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