Per report of the World Water Development in 2006, there are five challenges as far as surface water supply is concerned. These include: 1) diminishing surface water supply, 2) water pollution and contamination, 3) run-away population growth, 4) conflict or competition in its usage, and 5) ecological and geological problems.
In the rural or farm areas, 40 percent of rain water are lost through evaporation and transpiration, 10 percent as run-off water, 25 percent to shallow infiltration and 25 percent to deep infiltration.
On the other hand, in the residential or urban areas, 30 percent of rain water are lost due to evaporation and transpiration, 55 percent as run-off water, 10 percent to shallow infiltration and five percent to deep infiltration.
Given these situations, the Water Cube, a green and environmentally-friendly technology, can help mitigate or solve the scarcity of water resources for agricultural purposes and for domestic use during the dry months of the year.
The technology could even be utilized for flood control during rainy days in urban and residential areas. The Water Cube is a technology intended for the collection and storage of rainwater for future use – rainwater harvesting, in short.
This potential water resource, when properly handled could solve the scarcity of water resources during the dry season. But how? Mr. Jesus Las Marias has designed and patented the Water Cube, a novel and cheap way of storing excess water, rainwater in particular, for retrieval in the future when water supply is critical. It is fast and easy to install, but is a very sturdy and strong water storage facility.
Las Marias, also known as “The Rainman,” an economics graduate who joined the Senate Agricultural Commission as policy researcher during the enactment of the Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Act (AFMA) of 1997.
He studied wastewater treatment and water resources management in Japan and urban land redistribution in Taiwan. He serves as Chief Advocacy Officer of SRI (System of Rice Intensification) Pilipinas. Las Marias envisions to improve the living standard of rice farmers by raising their productivity and lowering their production costs.
His approach to solve the problem on food security is to maximize the use of idle lands and the
available resources for production of food commodities. One of the activities of Las Marias at present is converting biodegradable urban wastes into organic fertilizer for the use of the displaced rural labor who flock into the Metropolitan areas.
The Water Cube
The Water Cube technology uses non-biodegradable materials to form a cube with voids reinforced from the inside to keep its shape and enwrapped with a pliable chemically-inert material. The non-concrete material Water Cube is virtually indestructible and does not crack during earthquakes.
“The Water Cube can be constructed below or above-ground. When dug in a hole which serves as a receptacle, the space between the Water Cube and the earth’s wall and the bed shall be lined with sand to serve as buffer. All the components of the Water Cube are factory-fabricated, transported and assembled at the site,” Las Marias said.
“The Water Cube is a containment system that uses non-biodegradable materials and are assembled to form a cube with voids. Unlike the conventional cisterns and tanks, the Water Cube is reinforced from the inside to keep its shape and then enclosed with a pliable chemically-inert material. It is reinforced further with rigid non-biodegradable materials below and over it subject to the heed. The result is a virtually indestructible strong impervious structure. Stacked and enclosed alongside each other, the Water Cube can store unlimited volume of rainwater for many years according to the needs of the client.”
Accordingly, the Water Cube has the following advantages: it saves rainwater, it is easy and cheap to install, it is earthquake-proof, it is gravity-driven, it utilizes land surface, it eliminates evaporation loss, it can be relocated, it has long service life, it can be expanded or reduced, and it is easy to maintain.
The basic dimensions of the Water Cube are two meters in length, width, and height. One Water Cube can hold eight cubic meters of rain water. The Water Cubes could be deployed side by side or on top of other cubes.
The Water Cube can be constructed below the surface within the property of the client as determined. It can be dug in a hole which shall serve as a receptacle or pond. The space between the Water Cube and the earth’s wall and the bed shall be lined with sand to serve as a buffer. As mentioned, all the components are factory-fabricated, transported and assembled at the site.
Using this technology for rain water harvesting has four economic reasons, namely: 1) resort to the ancient wisdom of the time-tested technology, 2) avert the water crises that the country is facing, 3) conserve the country’s ground water resources, and 4) meet the domestic and agricultural water needs.
Accordingly, rainwater at present is a potential untapped resource––it is just wasted since it is not being collected and stored.
One of the well-known adopters of the Water Cube technology is the All Certified Equipment Trading Corporation (ACETC). It is hoped that the Water Cube will gain wider acceptance in the Philippines after field testing.
According to ACETC Chairman and President Benigno Limcumpao, “The need to provide water storage solutions is needed in the Philippines so that rainwater could be harvested and stored for use during the dry season.”
If the field testing proves successful, the Water Cube may help solve an important problem that affects many areas and industries in the country.
Photos courtesy of Jesus Las Marias
This article appeared in Agriculture Magazine’s May to June 2022 issue.