In August, CGV reported the rainwater harvesting system that is currently being implemented in the Maria Borges School in the Sao Joaquim community as part of the Trocano Araretama Conservation Project. This system was designed by CGV’s Environmental Engineer Victor Pavia to provide the communities of the project with clean and safe drinking water, which was expressed as one of the most important issues to the community locals.
Project consultant Ray Rodrigues of the National Institute of Amazonia Research (INPA) travelled to the community to take the necessary measurements in order to install the newly designed system. The original implementation system was to attach gutters to the roof of a designated building that would catch rainwater to be purified. However, during his visit, Ray was unable to confirm whether the roof of the chosen building contained the highly carcinogenic substance asbestos and it was therefore decided that an alternative strategy was the safest way to proceed.
Rather than collecting rainwater, it was decided that the collection of river water would be an effective alternative. This will be undertaken in three main stages.
River Water Treatment
1. Water Uptake:
The water will be collected by a water pump supported by a floating platform in the river. The pump will draw the water from the river and transfer it to a water deposit. This pump will be powered by solar energy.
2. Acquabox and Filters:
The gathered water will be stored in a tank that will be elevated 4 metres from the ground by a tower made from sustainably harvested wood. The water will then be released from the water tank and passed through a cartridge filter that removes solids from it. After this, the water enters the Acquabox system. The Acquabox is a solar powered device that emits a UV wave-length to kill and deactivate all harmful organisms. This treatment reduces the water’s bacteria count by 10,000 times, making it suitable for human consumption. The 4 metre elevation assists the water to overcome the filters and also protects the Acquabox from floods by maintaining the system above flood levels. The community is greatly affected by floods in the area. Just last year, the Maria Borges School received severe water damage during the wet season.
3. Cooling the water:
During initial consultations with the community members, it was discovered that the locals preferred to drink mildly contaminated water that was chilled than warm purified water. Therefore, it has been decided that the newly purified water will be passed directly from the Acquabox outlet to a water cooler. It is hoped that by keeping the drinkable water cool, the residents will not revert to drinking the contaminated water.
The installation of the project will be carried out by 2 QLuz Solar members, a solar company which is based in Manaus. However, before this is undertaken, an experienced local carpenter will upgrade the current tower that will elevate the water tank. In its present condition, the structure is weak and will not withstand another flood season.
Once the tower has been reconstructed, the project is estimated to be completed by the end of 2014.
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