Converting a barren ravine / valley into a cultivated oasis one, It is a free concept to apply
Out of 2.5% delicate amount of the freshwater, of the total water on the planet earth, only 1.2% of it is surface / other freshwater, available for use. And out of this 1.2%, only 0.49 of the surface freshwater is in the rivers, which could serve the life's needs on the planet, wherever not having access to freshwater in lakes.
Taking the maximum limit of 6-month time for the river residence time; if the water inflow into a river was not made-up, either via precipitations or ice and snow melts, it would dry-up, to the maximum, in the entire river bed, in 6 months.
In such drought situations, humans have no other choice, unless exploiting the precious underground freshwater, if within their reach and with a lot of energy input pumping it to the ground level, where adopted rainwater harvesting and storm water management measures are not in vogue. However, opting for saline water desalination measures would be considered, if other sources couldn't be utilized, since also desalination processes ask for a lot of energy and investment.
In many places worldwide, rainwater harvesting and runoff control measures could be adopted, for storing the rainwater for the use in the drought periods, to the extent that there are sample cases, such as - www.chooserain.com - , in which Mr. Larry Curran's premises is not connected to the city-water grid, but all live with the harvested rainwater, however, there is a lot of rainfall, in his place, but considering water conservation measures, it will also be practical in dry climates without too much rains. It will be also much advantageous catching the rainwater, in a place where it inherits potential energy, capable of free flowing to the end users. An example, in this regards is described on: http://www.atlaswaterharvesting.co.uk/, as well.
In fact, the logic behind the large dams’ construction, worldwide, has been the storing of the rainwater runoff, for the water use in the drought periods, and flash flood control, amongst other benefits, however, in the meantime losing a lot of water by seepage and evaporation and the environmental adverse consequences. In fact, the logic behind the large dams’ construction, worldwide, has been the storing of the rainwater runoff, for the water use in the drought periods, and flash flood control, amongst other benefits, however, in the meantime losing a lot of water by seepage and evaporation and the environmental adverse consequences.
There are many measures for storing the rainwater, but in this article, a new concept; named as "Above-Ground Qanat" or a version thereof; the "Hooman-Mashallah Spring," - after the name of the late HOOMAN FARZAAD (1913 – 2005,) - is introduced for pilot trials worldwide, for free without any obligation thereof, like license fees or the like (the environmental know-how’s have to be freely available to all, anyway.)
In fact, while considering rainwater harvesting measures, where the harvested rainwater could reach the consumers; while inheriting potential energy with enough pressure; pieces of puzzle matched each other, forming the concept, as described; along with a complimentary wise comment thereon; on the linked-in discussions on:
Obtained from Mr. Bill Harned (Experienced Developer/Project Manager, https://www.linkedin.com/pub/bill-harned/15/11a/773, Miami, Florida.)
In a nutshell, via building a few "Hooman-Mashallah Springs" ovrer an abandoned barren ravine / valley, at terraced elevations, one could convert its slope sides, into oasis cultivated green surfaces, providing wildlife guzzlers, as well and in the meantime maintaining a gravity power source of water to a community downhill. This concept really deserves a try. Any helping hands? It is free to apply; comments are most welcome.
It is assumed that via the application of this concept on the city environs / hinter lands, and the adaptation of the rainwater harvesting and storm-water management measures, in parallel, in urban areas; enough water could be maintained in many places. Yes we must catch the rainwater on time and on the spot, whenever and wherever it rains; preferably where inheriting potential energy, before running away from our reach; having in mind that the stored rainwater have to be kept in a manner to prevent smelling on aging.
Reaching to sweet water is getting harder and harder, worldwide. Underground freshwater resources are depleted / exploited beyond their sustainability limits; causing lands sinking in many places; where global warming and overpopulation are accounted for at present.
The planet earth is blue when looked at from above the atmosphere, since there are so much water thereon; where roughly 71 % of the area of the earth is covered by saline sea water. Alas, the abundant saline water could not be consumed by humans, animals and in agriculture, as it is, while the tolerated freshwater accounts for only 2.5% of the total water on the planet.
Since a picture is worth than a thousand words, the following diagrams show that out of this 2.5% delicate amount of the freshwater, only 1.2% is surface / other freshwater. And finally out of this 1.2%, only 0.49% of the surface freshwater is in the rivers, which could serve the life's needs on the planet, where not having access to freshwater in lakes nearby.
Distribution of Earth's Water http://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthwherewater.html
In the first bar, notice how only 2.5% of all Earth's water is freshwater, which is what life needs to survive.
The middle bar shows the breakdown on that 2.5% which is freshwater. Almost all of it is locked up in ice and in the ground. Only a bit more than 1.2% of all freshwater (which was only 2.5% of all water) is surface water, which serves most of life's needs.
The right side bar shows the breakdown of only the surface freshwater, which was only about 1.2% of all freshwater. Most of surface freshwater is locked up in ice, and another 20.9% is in lakes. Notice the 0.49% of surface freshwater that is in rivers. Sounds like a tiny amount, but rivers are where humans get a large portion of their water from. In fact, look at the globe to the below. There is a tiny 3rd bubble hovering over Georgia, USA. That is the size of a ball of water with all the freshwater in lakes and rivers, yet the water in that bubble has the huge responsibility of serving most of humans' and animals' water needs.
All of the World's Water
All Earth's water, liquid fresh water, and water in lakes and rivers
(1) All water (sphere over western U.S., 860 miles in diameter)
(2) Fresh liquid water in the ground, lakes, swamps, and rivers (sphere over Kentucky, 169.5 miles in diameter), and
(3) Fresh-water lakes and rivers (sphere over Georgia, 34.9 miles in diameter).
These alarming freshwater balances, reveals the acute necessity for paying the utmost attention, specially to the rivers survivals, against humans' (public / governments) Mal-practices, which have reached a catastrophic situation; to the extent that sooner or later, no blue rivers could possibly be viewed, by astronauts, as just evident samples, are shown on the following link:
Public in general, governments and international bodies, in particular are accounted for, in this regards; here the paradox is that one river out of the above-mentioned ten ugly rivers is considered sacred, by billions of religious ones, however, to the writer of this article; all rivers on the planet should be considered sacred, since they maintain the lives of many living creatures.
Credit: Howard Perlman, USGS; globe illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Â©); Adam Nieman
There are many factors involved in the rivers pollutions, for which one can search for individually on the web, however, a single important one, helping in this discussion is the rainwater runoff, which washes away all sorts of pollutions and precious soils everywhere; and eventually ending up into water streams and rivers, in addition depriving lands of the rainwater infiltration in a managed scheme and in a longer period of time; preventing catastrophic flooding, as well.
Residence in Time of Water and Rivers
Now let’s see how long is it the residence time of water, in a river; in the context of water cycle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cycle:)
Average reservoir residence times  Reservoir Average residence time Antarctica 20,000 years, Oceans 3,200 years, Glaciers 20 to 100 years, Groundwater: shallow 100 to 200 years, Groundwater: deep 10,000 years, Lakes (see lake retention time) 50 to 100 years, Atmosphere 9 days, Soil moisture 1 to 2 months, Seasonal snow cover 2 to 6 months, Rivers 2 to 6 months. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cycle#Residence_times
The average reservoir residence time of water is quoted as 2 to 6 months, one for the least figures given above, in comparison. Yes, in fact, that is the force of gravity which will direct the flow of water in the river to the lower elevations, before having enough opportunity, infiltrating into underground in a managed manner; into known underground freshwater reservoirs, at least and finally getting back into lakes and oceans(http://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle.html.)
Taking the maximum limit of 6-month time for the river residence time; may imply that if the water inflow into a river is not made up, either via precipitations or ice and snow melts, it will dry up, to the maximum in the entire river bed, in 6 months.
OPTING FOR UNDERGROUND WATER OR HARVESTING THE RAINWATER
In such drought situations, humans have no other choice, unless exploiting the precious underground freshwater, if within their reach and with a lot of energy input pumping it to the ground level, where adapted rainwater harvesting and storm water management measures are not in vogue, to the extent that there are sample cases, such as described on: www.chooserain.com , in which one is all living with the rainwater; off the city water grid.
However, it will be much advantageous catching the rainwater, in a place where it inherits potential energy, capable of free flowing to the end users. An example, in this regards, is described on: http://www.atlaswaterharvesting.co.uk/.
QANAT; GENIUS ENOUGH REACHING UNDERGROUND WATER WITHOUT PUMPING
Wise people in the ancient times devised their then own technology, to overcome to the gravity force, bringing up the infiltrated water into the underground aquifers, within their reach, via building "Qanat;" well explained in the related link ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qanat.)
These wise people were also very concerned in conserving and storing water, out of storm water, rainwater runoff, and Qanat water surplus, via their own means and ways; into artificial reservoir, called Ab-Anbars; well described in the related link, as well: ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ab_anbar .) Also, a collection of twelve images are available on ( https://fa.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A2%D8%A8%E2%80%8C%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1 ,) however, in the Persian language foot-notes, but they are self explanatory and are all dome-roofed Ab-Anbars; two sample images are shown here, thereof:
Alireza Javaheri - http://www.panoramio.com/photo/28680571
Old Reservoir in Aradan - Garmsar
The entrance door to the outer bottom wall of the underground Cistern is shown, in front.
Stairs from the entrance door down to the outer Cistern’s bottom wall, for taking the stored water out by buckets.
UNDERGROUND WATER IN SAND AND GRAVEL ALLUVIAL AQUIFERS
In fact, what is required to elaborate more here, in this discussion is the following related Qanat cross section diagram shown on: ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Qanat_cross_section.svg, ) in which the location of "alluvium," ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alluvium ,) is outlined and it will be referred thereto, later on:
Under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: Qanat_cross_section.svg#/media/File:Qanat_cross_section.svg
"Qanat cross section" by Samuel Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Own work. Licensed
Also the following diagram helps in understanding the alluvium:
An aquifer is an underground formation of permeable rock or loose material that can produce useful quantities of water when tapped by a well or as discharge via a spring.
We will come back to these two diagrams further below, after introducing the late Iranian scholar and his "Gravel-Filled Roofless Cistern," concept, as follows:
THE LATE HOOMAN FARZAAD'S (1913 - 2005) IDEAS, THE "GRAVEL-FILLED ROOFLESS CISTERN
“A talented Iranian electrical / machine engineer, the late HOOMAN FARZAAD (1913 – 2005,) proposed a handful ambitious schemes in the fields of water and power, in his fruitful life time, however, the Internet doesn’t tell us much about his achievements, written in the English language.
In an innovative article, being concerned to the hygienic issues of the ancient roofed Ab-Anbars, he proposed and published a technical article on a modified version of Ab-Anbars, named as: "Gravel-filled Roofless Cisterns," in 1970 (Daneshmand Journal, No’s. 9 & 10, 1349, Tehran, Iran; published in Persian.)
He observed that the capacities of ancient Ab-Anbars are generally limited to about 1,000 cubic meters, due to the structural issues of roofing and one has to build many of them to maintain more population, while his modified Ab-Anbar being roofless could have capacities around 100,000 cubic meters.
As its name implies, his proposed Ab-Anbar is filled with 4-10 mm, gravels, topped with a layer of sand, as a filter. He predicted when this cistern is filled with harvested rain water / runoff and also Qanat’s water surplus; almost more than one third of its total volume will be allocated to the stored water; in the voids between the gravel grains, preferably the spherical ones in shape. It is mentioned that the level of the stored water has to be kept well below the gravel bed top level, below the sand layer. In such roofless cistern, the stored water is kept away from air contact and it will be mimicking the natural phenomena of preserved water in the underground water tables.
Then he further argues that the stored water in this type of Ab-Anbar, never gets spoiled with bad smells after a few months, as it will not be exposed to the air, since the process is a mimic of the water mixed with alluvium deposits, in the underground waters, as shown on the Qanat cross section diagram and the aquifer diagram, shown before.
He finally had mentioned that, when this cistern is in use, the deposited water has to be taken out via a pump, piped all the way down to the bottom of the cistern. And also the sand layer on the gravel bed has to be changed every year, which it could be used as fertilizer; refer to the figure below, reconstructed from his article, in the Persian language:
He wished that his proposed "Gravel-Filled Roofless Cistern" will be thoroughly researched (gravel types and sizing, sanitation concerns, etc.,) in Iran and elsewhere worldwide. I am not aware of any outcome though, so far if his wish was ever fulfilled." Here is a reconstructed image from his article:
Reconstructed image from The Late Hooman Farzaad's article, on the Daneshmand Journal, in 1970; comparing the sizing of the traditional domed-roof Ab-Anbar with the gravel-filled Roofless Cistern, with equal volume of water inside.
In fact, the "Gravel Filled Roofless Cistern" is an ideal option for the storage of the rainwater runoff, in which the stored water doesn't get spoiled, on aging.
It is also, a good option for storing the harvested rainwater on premises, for a long time. How long? It has to be pilot tested , in either options. Another advantage is that, there would be no evaporation loss.
However, one has to opting either for a manual or an electrical pump, digging the stored water, as shown on the reconstructed image, displayed above.
In a nutshell, Hooman's concept, mimics the shallow unconfined underground aquifer in alluvium ( Unconfined aquifers are bound by the water table; that is, they have no confining rock layers over the top of them.)
Having said all that, it is now the right time introducing a new concept; named as "Above-Ground Qanat" or a version thereof; the "Hooman-Mashallah Spring:"
"ABOVE-GROUND QANAT" OR A VERSION THEREOF; THE "HOOMAN-MASHALLAH SPRING:"
The concept applies a revised version and application of the late Hooman Farzaad’s “Gravel–Filled Roofless Cistern's” scheme.
His scheme was originally proposed for harvesting and storing rainwater runoff into, on flat lands, in which the storing of water mimics the natural process, in storing rainwater in the underground aquifers, vis-Ã -vis ancient artificial Ab-Anbars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ab_anbar ,) solving the problems of the stored water bad smelling, as a result of a long storing, in roofed Ab-Anbars, and also their capacity limitation on construction.
Let's describing more on the proposed concept, named as “Above- Ground Qanat,” or a version thereof "Hooman-Mashallah Spring," to be built on a sloped valley.
But in such a then proposed cistern, one needs a pump to take out the stored rainwater for delivering to the consumers , in the same way as for water wells; as well as, the Qanat water brought to the surface ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qanat ) is an available source of water, on the ground level, for free flowing, without any potential energy therein though, so that needing pumping to the consumers living at higher elevations.
Actually, the water source of a Qanat is found bellow the ground, at the foot of a range of foothills of mountains. Such water sources or aquifers are formed out of rainwater infiltration deep into the ground, on the valleys.
Considering to build a few cylindrically-shaped “Gravel-Filled roofless Cisterns,” on a valley at staged elevations; and making the cylinders truncated on their bottoms to match the slope gradient of the valley, all the rainwater falling on the surface of the valley’s side slopes could be diverted into the terraced cisterns,” and stored therein, at the uplands levels.
As a result, the stored rainwater will benefit from the combined advantages of sand filtration to the water and water sterilization through mineral ion exchange, in the cisterns consisting of layers of pebble, gravel and sand; while, in the meantime, inheriting the potential energy at the upland’s levels. Finally, the clean and stored rainwater could reach consumers via gravity flow, from uplands.
A schematic diagram of this concept, is displayed on the following image, with due thanks to the Graphic Designer; Mr. Sepehr Jafari; more explanation will be given further below, on this image's various components. However, constructing such cisterns at elevations is not an easy task, so that a version thereof is thought of by introducing a few changes on Check Dams, using them instead shown cisterns:
A schematic display of the "Above-Ground Qanat," due thanks to Mr. Sepehr Jafari, Graphic Designer. Not to scale
A check dam is a small, often temporary, dam constructed across a swale, drainage ditch, or waterway to counteract erosion by reducing water flow velocity.
 Check dams themselves are not a type of new technology; rather, they are an ancient technique dating all the way back to the second century A.D.
 Check dams are typically, though not always, implemented as a system of several check dams situated at regular intervals across the area of interest (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Check_dam.)
Check Dams built over a valley, solely to prevent soil erosion and enabling rainwater infiltration into the ground, due to its lowered velocity.
In order to effectively slow down water velocity to counter the effects of erosion and protect the channel between dams in a larger system, the spacing must be designed properly. The check dams should be spaced such that the toe of the upstream check dam is equal to the elevation of the downstream check dam's crest.
By doing so, the water can pond between check dams and thus slow the flow's velocity down substantially as the water progresses down-slope.
Check Dams Spacing
If all the surface areas, just behind the check dams, built on ravines / valleys are covered by certain environmentally-safe impermeable materials; then filled with small pieces of crushed stones, pebbles, and gravels, in layers from the same areas, and finally topped with a sand layer; in which there should be an overflow opening to be located well below the sand layer, thus, keeping the water level away from the air; and preventing freezing, to certain extent; the check dams would be converted into good water reservoirs; in which there would be no water loss due to the infiltration into the ground, as well as evaporation, like the water, stored in large dams.
This new version of the “Above-Ground Qanat” concept will result a series of springs, one located above the other, at various levels, on the ravine / valleys; providing good water source year round, on a controlled basis and capable of gravity flowing; may I call it “Hooman-Mashallah Spring?
Hooman is after the good name of the late Hooman Farzaad (1913 – 2005) and his “Gravel–Filled Roofless Cisterns” scheme, which it was originally proposed for harvesting and storing rainwater runoff inside, on flat lands – to be equipped with a pump, though. I have reached to this current proposal, after reading his concept, while being interested in gravity-powered flowing of the harvested rainwater.
Finally, being thirsty for comments, I obtained a wise complimentary comment from Mr. Bill Harned (experienced developer/project manager, https://www.linkedin.com/pub/bill-harned/15/11a/773 , Miami, Florida,) thereon; on the linked-in discussions on: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/855897-5960720811722551298, whom I deem an expert on the field; just based on his wise comments, here and there, on various occasions . His kind observations are as follows, for the benefits of others too, with due thanks, appreciation and permission ( https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/855897-5960720811722551298:)
"Mashallah, As much as I hate trying to read all upper case text documents, I put in the extra effort.
The GRAVEL–FILLED ROOFLESS CISTERNS (Qanat) can be related to reservoirs without evaporation problems, but also includes filtering concepts. This could include layered with stone and various sized aggregate separated by Geo Textiles, and also planted with vegetation for further filtration and beneficial microbial activities, (however
you would have some loss through Evapotranspiration).
Also, a succession of Qanat's (the Hooman-Mashallah Spring network) down a ravine, and each Qanat having a cistern of reasonable size could be harnessed collectively to provide a source of Gravity power at the base, this power could then utilize the "Principle of Hydraulics", by creating a "Hydraulic Ram Pump" to pressurize a community water system. NO electricity required!
I hope these comments are advantageous to you.
And another kind comment from him, recently received:
"Mashallah Ali- Ahyaie ,
Very educational, and informative concerning the global needs by utilizing sustainable fresh water resources. These merits of more natural methodologies, and without an abundance of high and costly technology along with energy efficiencies can be productive to society and its various global communities.
Thanks Mashallah Ali- Ahyaie , for the exposure to your research and concepts."
A hydraulic ram , or hydram , is a cyclic water pump powered by hydropower. It takes in water at one "hydraulic head" (pressure) and flow rate, and outputs water at a higher hydraulic head and lower flow rate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_ram.)
In fact, enough static head will be available at the foothill level, for the water delivery to any community around, except for the water delivery to higher levels beyond the static head pressure availability (counting for the network loss as well ;) in which one might opt for the hydraulic ram pump. However, on the slope sides of the valley themselves, one may use the hydraulic ram pump for pumping water to higher elevations for plantation on the slopes; as demonstrated on the following image from: http://www.meribah-ram-pump.com/
(As an example, taken from the web, with due thanks, showing a Ram Pump's application, for delivery of water to a sloped area.)
Geotextiles are permeable fabrics which, when used in association with soil, have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geotextile.)
In a nutshell, via building a few "Hooman-Mashallah Springs" on an abandoned barren ravine / valley, at terraced elevations, one could convert its slope sides, into cultivated green surfaces, providing wildlife guzzlers, as well and in the meantime maintaining a gravity power source of water to a community downhill. A schematic diagram of this concept, is displayed on the following image, with due thanks to the Graphic Designer; Mr. Sepehr Jafari:
A schematic display of the "Hooman-Mashallah Spring," due thanks to Mr. Sepehr Jafari, Graphic Designer. Not to scale SOIL
TESTS ARE REQUIRED
That would be an unfortunate site selection, building check dams on a valley having a saline soil, or even inheriting some sort of saline minerals, gypsum and limestone textures.
As such, a thorough soil test survey is a must, prior to deciding on building check dams. The following table is a good source for soil types, as far as gardening requirements are concerned:
Colorado Master Gardener Program | Yard and Garden Publications | CMG GardenNotes #224
Soil tests for soluble salts are based on electrical conductivity. Pure water is a very poor conductor of electric current, whereas water containing dissolved salts conducts current approximately in proportion to the amount of salt present.
Thus, measurement of the electrical conductivity, ECe , of a soil extract gives an indication of the total soluble salt concentration in the soil. The ECe is measured in decisiemens per meter (dS/m) or millimhos per centimeter (mmhos/cm). 1 dS/m = 1 mmhos/cm. [Table 2]
Soluble Salt Test Values For Relative Sensitivity Levels of Plants
Effect on Plant Growth
0 to 2 dS/m
2.1 to 4 dS/m
very slight salinity
sensitive plants re inhibited
4.1 to 8 dS/m
many plants are inhibited
8.1 to 16 dS/m
most cultivated plants are inhibited
over 16t dS/m
very strong salinity
few plants are tolerant
*Saturated paste extract
Check-Dams have to be also built on foundations, appropriate to withstand all loads involved, contemplated by structural engineers. As such, subsoil conditions have to be examined using test boring: http://theconstructor.org/geotechnical/foundations/soil-investigation-foundation-types/26/
CHECK DAM CONSTRUCTION DETAILS
Check Dam construction details will depend on the available materials at its building site, and the ground condition. It has to be well fitted on a solid foundation, as shown on the following link, as an example; however, there are so many installation varieties if searched for images for " check dams construction details:
A sample check dam construction lay-out .
OVER-FLOODING PREVENTION MEASURES
One important consideration, in laying out the "Hooman-Mashallah Spring" over a valley would be the adaptation of the flood prevention measures, based on the valley's topographic configuration, to prevent over-flooding of the springs, constructed at different levels.
Finally; hopefully, the idea of “Above- Ground Qanat,” or "Hooman-Mashallah Spring," will be widely commented thereon and accepted. And also widely practiced, after running pilot trials worldwide, for free without any obligation thereof, like license fee or the like (the environmental know-how’s have to be freely available to all, worldwide anyway.) This concept really deserves a try; any helping hands? Comments are most welcome.
It is assumed that via the application of this concept on the city environs / hinter lands, and the adaptation of the rainwater harvesting and storm-water management measures, in parallel, in urban areas; enough water could be maintained in many places. Yes, we must catch the rainwater on time and on the spot, whenever and wherever it rains; preferably where inheriting potential energy, before running away from our reach.
1) Does this concept really work? It certainly needs a pilot study. That is named as:
“ABOVE-GROUND ARTIFICIAL QANAT; BUILT ON A SLOPED VALLEY.”
2) "CONVERTING CHECK-DAMS INTO SPRINGS, FED BY THE HARVESTED
RAINWATER RUNOFF FROM HILL SIDES, ON THE HINTER LANDS; ON THE
CITY ENVIRONS, ON RAVINES; ONE MAY NAME IT “HOOMAN-MASHALLAH
3) Daneshmand Journal, No’s. 9 & 10, 1349 "1970," Tehran, Iran; published in Persian.
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