“Cutting Costs: Alternative Solutions for Dam Liners in Kenya” 

 April 1, 2023

Introduction

Kenya is among the countries grappling with water scarcity, and the government and NGOs have been advocating for the construction of water catchment systems such as dams to augment water supply. However, the installation of durable liners for the dam can cost millions of shillings, which is unaffordable for most communities. In this blog post, we discuss alternative solutions for dam liners in Kenya that can help cut costs.

1. Use of Geomembranes Instead of Concrete Liners

Geomembranes are an effective solution for lining dams as they are affordable and easy to install. They have a life span of between 25 to 30 years, which is enough to offer a return on investment. The materials used for the geomembrane liners include polypropylene, polyethylene and PVC. Moreover, they can be used in combination with sand, clay and other materials that are readily available.

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2. Use of HDPE Sheets

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Sheets are sheets made of plastic material that are affordable and easy to install. They are light and durable, with a lifespan of over 40 years, which makes them an excellent alternative to conventional liners. Additionally, they can withstand drastic changes in temperature and resist chemicals, making them suitable for lining water reservoirs, ponds and dams.

3. Use of Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is a natural resource that offers excellent sealing properties due to its high water absorption capacity. The concept behind using bentonite clay is to create an impermeable barrier that prevents water from leaking through the dam. Bentonite clay is affordable and locally available, making it a cost-effective alternative to conventional liners.

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4. Use of Concrete Canvas

Concrete Canvas is a unique high-performance composite material that is easy to install and durable. It is a lightweight, fiber-reinforced material that is prefabricated with a PVC backing. The PVC backing is impregnated with a special cement mixture, making it possible to turn it into a durable liner that is resistant to chemicals and weather elements.

5. Use of EPDM Membrane

EPDM is a synthetic rubber liner that is easy to install and has a lifespan of over 50 years. EPDM is a preferred lining solution for ponds and lakes due to its ability to withstand UV and chemical degradation. It is also resistant to puncturing, abrasion and tearing, making it an ideal solution for lining small to medium-sized dams.

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6. Use of Rubberized Asphalt Membrane

Rubberized asphalt membranes are a cost-effective alternative to conventional liners as they are affordable and long-lasting. They are made by combining asphalt with synthetic rubber to form a membrane that is applied to the dam’s surface. The membrane is flexible, durable and has excellent sealing properties, making it an ideal solution for lining dams.

7. Use of Recycled Materials

Recycling waste materials such as tires, plastics and rubber can provide a cost-effective solution for lining dams. These materials can be processed and converted into environmentally friendly geomembranes or other suitable materials that can help reduce the cost of lining a dam.

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8. Conclusion

Lining dams is an essential step in promoting water conservation in Kenya. However, it can be a costly endeavor for most communities, making it inaccessible. The alternative solutions discussed in this blog post can help cut costs and make dam lining affordable to all. The solutions mentioned are durable, long-lasting, easy to install and offer excellent sealing properties, making them ideal alternatives for conventional liners.

FAQs

1. How long do geomembranes last as dam liners?
Ans: Geomembranes have a lifespan of between 25 to 30 years.

2. What are the benefits of using HDPE sheets for dam lining?
Ans: HDPE sheets are affordable, easy to install, light, durable and can resist chemicals and changes in temperature.

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3. Can bentonite clay be used in conjunction with other liners?
Ans: Yes, bentonite clay can be used as an additional liner on top of other liners to offer an extra layer of protection.

4. Why is Concrete Canvas suitable for dam lining?
Ans: Concrete Canvas is durable, easy to install, and resistant to weather elements and chemicals.

5. How long can rubberized asphalt membranes last as dam liners?
Ans: Rubberized asphalt membranes have a lifespan of up to 30 years.

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