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Sand dams – A solution for dryland communities

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Sand dams are a simple, low cost and low maintenance, replicable rainwater harvesting technology. It’s a solution that focuses on community ownership and self supply that involves significant community contribution and locally supplied skills.

They provide a clean, local water supply for domestic and farming use and are suited to arid and semi-arid areas of the world.  A sand dam is a reinforced concrete wall (or a similarly robust and impermeable weir) typically built 1 – 5 metres high across a seasonal sand river. When it rains the dam captures soil laden water behind it – the sand in the water sinks to the bottom, whilst the silt remains suspended in the water.

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