Running water is a great blessing that many people take for granted. My family spent years in Haiti where my family was without running water for years. When we moved to South America my dad wanted a to give our family more modern conveniences, and thus we needed a water tower. This is an instrutables about how a concrete water tower is built from scratch in a third world country.
I live in a jungle village in the Amazon rainforest. We are very fortunate to have running water that comes from the village, but it only runs three times a day and will not run at all some days. It also doesn't have nearly enough pressure to run over a story in height. As a family living here we wanted a better solution water problem
The solution is a sixteen foot tall reenforced-concrete tower that holds two water tanks on top. The tower holds 800 gallons of water equaling 6,672 pounds! The water is pumped up to the tanks from a lower tank that collects rain water and the villages water. Once in the upper tanks it is gravity fed to our house. This system gives us water no mater if the villages water is running or if the electricity is off.
Water towers like this one are nothing new in our area. Everyone who wants continual running water has to build one. We originally built ours of wood. The wood held up for about thirteen years which is good considering this is a rain forest and termites are ferocious. Once the wooden tower started making my Dad a little to nervous we decided to have a concrete one built.
I didn't build it - a project like this is pretty significant - ,but I get to see how the workers did it. The first step to learning is watching. I want to show you in this instructables how local carpenters built this cement structure, and show you how you can do it too. This is a big and dangerous project, so I would advise you to have have some knowledge on doing this. This is an instructables geared more to get you thinking and give you the idea and basic instructions to building something like this. Many instructables are things that I will never make or don't have the opportunity or need to make, but I appreciate the ideas and knowledge they give me. Thank you instructablers for all the great instructables!
I am not responsible for any injuries or problems that may come from making or using this water tower. It is a big dangerous project, and the tower could be dangerous. I am not responsible in any way for any hurt or injury you might face in building or using this project.
Remember to vote for me. I would love to win a concrete mixer. (My back would love it too if I would have one here.) :)
On to the building!
Step 1: Tons of Materials - Literally
Being that this tower is being built in a third world country and our village has no such thing as a cement truck, everything has to be hand mixed and manually made! A LOT of manual labor. Helping to mix large batches of cement is one of the most tiring jobs I have done. Trust me it gets you TIRED. The only power tool used in this project was a circular saw to cut the form boards and a chain saw to cut the form board from a tree. In this material list I am going to give you the amount of materials a project like this will take. Most people get pre-mixed concrete, but this is the materials needed to make this tower completely from scratch.
Sand (several tons)
25 100 lb. sacks of cement (it is a job to carry these) :)
Gravel - about two tons (offloading six tons of gravel by shovel from a truck = a sore back) :(
Lots of water
Steel: (in 20' lengths)
32 pieces 1/2"
2 pieces 1/4"
6 pieces 3/8"
thin wire to tie the steal together
Form boards - to form into molds to pour the concrete into (use old boards because the curing concrete draws out all the moisture from the boards bowing the board greatly and making them useless)
Plywood to form the mold for the top of the tower (we didn't use plywood, but it wood make things a lot easier)
Regular tools - hammer, saw, tape, level, ect.
Some sort of scaffolding