The Kenyan architect often designs buildings that require adequate provisions for dealing with water supply. One such provision is water harvesting. Water harvesting allows water that is incident through natural means to be channeled to a location for future use. It is important to note that there are several means of storage available in the market, and they typically would depend on the user’s storage requirements.
Water Tanks – A Simple Water Design Solution for the Kenyan Architect.
These are the most basic means of storage. They can be creatively designed to form part of the project, especially if they are created as an intrinsic feature within the design. Larger tanks may be a bit of a challenge to use as part of the project’s form and it may be easier to create them as a sub-surface feature concealed from view. Much of the time they may require a dual system in which one storage tank is buried underground, while the other would be located at an elevated position such as the roof level. This system works by allowing the underground tank to collect water channeled from the roof or other sources and this then is pumped to the elevated tank. Thereafter it is able to flow by gravity from the elevated tank under pressure to the place where it would be utilized.
Water tanks may be made from hardened plastic that has been stabilized to withstand UV radiation especially if they are to be mounted exposed to direct sunlight. These are quite widespread in the East African region, and they have the advantage of not being prone to rust and degradation. However in as much as they are quite reinforced and hardened, they may not provide the same structural strength as concrete or steel tanks and thus must be used in areas where other live loads shall not be imposed on them.
Steel tanks are easy to manufacture and are among the oldest systems of water storage available to the Kenyan architect within the construction industry. These can be made of heavy gauge galvanized iron sheets that are welded together to form a continuous storage medium. They are able to have a relatively long lifespan, but have the disadvantage of rust over time.
Braithwaite steel water tanks are an interesting option for those who would want to create water storage in locations which previously may not have had provisions for it. They consist of reinforced steel plates with a provision that allows them to be bolted together to form watertight containers that are able to handle large volumes of water. These allow one to create water storage in an already constructed basement. Alternatively, these can be assembled on raised platforms to create elevated water storage points.
Within the Kenyan market, the uPVC and polypropylene reinforced plastic water tanks are definitely emerging as the most economic and favorite mode of providing water storage. These are increasingly being paired with PPR water pipes as the mode of carriage, and allow for easy installation and maintenance. They are flexible, a characteristic that allows them to be easily connected to various fittings available in the market.
Open Water Storage – Another key planning parameter for the Kenyan Architect
In this case, water that has been incident to a site is channeled to a basin or artificially created lake or reservoir. This can be prepared in advance using waterproof cement walls, or using packed stone or concrete retaining walls surfaced with a damp proof membrane that allows for water retention. The ground is so treated as to ensure water does not percolate through into the soil and drain away.
Alternatively one can overlay water storage areas with waterproof membranes that are plastic based, though preferable membranes should be strong, rigid and self-protecting. They should be resistant to UV radiation, and also should resist attack from insects. This should be laid on well compacted substrate that has been treated for pests that can damage the membrane. Smaller pools can be covered, either roofed or covered by sheet of plastic to reduce evaporation of the stored water.
While it may be preferable to plant grass or vegetation that may stabilize soil around these open drains, it may be a disadvantage to plant trees that sap a lot of water. Some trees such as eucalyptus can dry up reservoirs in their vicinity as their roots have high water intake, which may be undesirable.
Water Management Is Key To Attaining Water Sustainability For Projects By Kenyan Architects
Provision of water storage mediums on site is a vital element in management of water resources on a property. The Kenyan architect needs to give consideration to creating these provisions for water storage within the design of a facility, whether it be a large building complex or a simple structure for whatever activity.