Can Adobe Hold


Experimenting with Adobe Construction in Mexico

By:  Kendra Cecil & Renée Kerson

The Purpose

Normally when building a pond, a greywater treatment marsh, or any other system that needs to prevent water from seeping into the earth, cement or a thick plastic liner are used.  However, pond liners and cement are derived from fossil fuels and never biodegrade.  Also, pond liners are very expensive and difficult to work with.  The question that we want to pose is, what are our other options?


We are participants in Humboldt State University of California's summer abroad program located in Parras, Mexico.  Here we are learning about Appropriate Technology in a desert setting while studding the natural systems in this oasis town.  As a whole, the 22 student participants of this program created an Appropriate Technology definition. Part of the objective of Appropriate Technology involves creating ways to meet our everyday needs while reducing our impact on the environment.  To demonstrate and experiment with Appropriate Technology we are to develop hands-on projects that could be a benefit to the Parras community.

Project Objective

For our project we are focusing on developing a solution to using plastic and cement for the purpose of holding water.  By doing so we can minimize the amount of fossil fuels and embedded energy needed to produce plastic and cement.  Our idea is to experiment with Adobe bricks as a medium to hold water.  This idea was once suggested by by Bob Gearheart, an expert in waste water treatment and a Professor in Environmental Resources Engineering at HSU.

What is ADOBE?

The Many Steps We Took....


Some of our favorite links:

The Art of Greywater Marshes        


 Special thanks to our adobe models:   Holiday Dalglish and Lisa Searle 

Photos taken by Renée Kerson