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Water conservation in Curaçao

using traditional earthen dams

door Gerard van Buurt

Abstract / The climate in Curaçao is semi-arid to arid. Every century several extended periods of drought occur with practically no rain. A whole system of earthen dams for water conservation was developed since early colonial times. This system was developed and constructed by the Dutch, it is not found in the Spanish Islands. These dams force part of the rainwater into the ground and help maintain groundwater levels; they also help to combat erosion.

traditional wind mill (falling to pieces) / photo Carel de Haseth

A large number of smaller dams is more effective than a few large ones. This way ground water levels are influenced over a relatively large area. A few larger ones were constructed in the 20th century but even so these are relatively small; the very largest one having a capacity of 600.000 tons. The next one comes in at 450.000 tons; all the others are substantially smaller. The larger dams are less effective, they store more water above ground in a deeper temporary lake where a larger fraction of the water is subject to evaporation over a longer period of time as compared to a series of smaller dams with the same capacity.

Now turn to this pdf-file for the text and photo pictures

on 07.05.2022 at 9:48
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