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Building with ferrocement


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Welcome to an adventure in rainwater catchment.  The goal for my project was to create a rainwater catchment system to water fruit trees and an organic vegetable garden without the use of city water.  The main focus of my project is on a ferrocement catchment pond for water storage, and the system also includes three rain barrels.   It was a personal goal of mine throughout the project to include as many reused materials as possible, so collecting materials was an ongoing process that determined the design of the system.


Materials collection

I designed the system based on average rain falls for Arcata and an estimated water need equivalent to one inch of rain per month.  The planning process was flexible and ongoing.  Check out the "finalized".

Rainfall Table

Because I decided to reuse materials whenever possible, materials collection was a major part of the project and conditioned every aspect of the design and execution.  Many of the materials were salvaged from tucked away places where they had been illegally dumped.  I actively searched for materials for the first eight weeks  of the semester and then purchased materials to complete the system.


Catchment and Barrels

Ferrocement is a mortar of made of cement, sand and water which uses a high proportion of sand to reduce the embedded energy. The mortar is laid in a frame build from several layers of welded wire with rebar supports and dried slowly over 2-4 weeks.  Before I began, I tested three sand/cement ratios to see which worked the best


Luckily we have no shortage of rain water here in Arcata.  Since the roof of my house will receive more water in winter than I could ever possibly store or use, the system collects water from approximately half of the roof. Storage is essential.

 Harvested Rainwater Guidelines

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This site was last updated 12/11/05