Dam… The Mighty Sand Dam

Dam…The Mighty Sand Dam

 

You are probably thinking to yourself, “What the heck is a Sand Dam?” Could it possibly be a dam made out of sand? But that is preposterous!” You are exactly right! A dam made out of purely sand is a crazy idea. How could sand possible act as a barrier against a river? Now that I have you thinking of the logic behind it, let us go over what a dam is used for. According to ‘Dictionary.Com’, a dam is, “a barrier to obstruct the flow of water, especially one of earth, masonry, etc., built across a stream or river.” In today’s world, the purpose of a dam is to act as a water supply, flood control, irrigation, hydropower, and so much more! 

Now, lets go over the basics of a Sand Dam. For starters, Sand Dams are usually constructed in dry, arid climates. These dams can’t be constructed in just any old random place but in a specific location. That location has to encounter seasonal sandy rivers in order to play key role in the local area. The water containing sediment and silt travels down the river and towards the sand dam. The water quickly collides with the concrete wall and then the water level quickly rises. The water eventually overflows over the wall along with the silt, leaving the excess water leveled without the top of the wall. The sand in the water sinks to the ground and then the water recedes down. According to ‘Excellent, Pioneers of Sand Dams’,  “Dam fills with sand – but 25-40% of the volume is water!”  

That water stored in the sand is then ready to be used as drinking water. All you need is a pipe to access the stored water. The great thing about the water being stored under sand is that the water is protected from contamination, such as animal feces and human waste. ‘Excellent, Pioneers of Sand Dams’ claim that 1.5 million children die ever year from diarrhea diseases and that it can be entirely preventable. They say that open dams provide a breeding habitat for mosquitos and since the water of sand dams are stored out of sight, it takes away that breeding zone, decreasing the chance of diarrhea. Very interesting when you think about it. 

The sole purpose of this kind of dam is to collect rain water. This dam is very unique. It provides locals with water they can trust and water that is close to their homes. Now with this new water source the locals can farm and use it to sustain their families and animals. 

Here you can a Sand Dam. The water filled all the way to the top, and all of the excess water(silt included) is being overflown.

Here you can see a Sand Dam. The water is filled all the way to the top, and all of the excess water(silt included) is being overflown. http://thewaterproject.org/community/projects/kenya/new-sand-dam-and-shallow-well-in-kenya-4025

 

In this photo you can see the foundation and the physics behind a water dam. The silt is carried over the reinforced concrete wall and then the sand sinks to the base of the wall. The water then settles down and is ready to be used as a water supply. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Sand_dam_illustration_1.jpg

In this photo you can see the foundation and the physics behind a water dam. The silt is carried over the reinforced concrete wall and then the sand sinks to the base of the wall. The water then settles down and is ready to be used as a water supply.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Sand_dam_illustration_1.jpg

 

 

Resources:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dam

 

http://www.icold-cigb.org/GB/Dams/role_of_dams.asp

 

http://www.thewaterchannel.tv/thewaterblog/260-the-sand-dam-debate

 

 

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