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9th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999

Section 12: Posters

Paper 12.2

Pintadas: Experiences with Concrete Plate Cisterns

Edny Marcos Mendes
Escola Família Agrícola de Pintadas, Bahia, Brasil
Tel: (075)693-2301


Pintadas is a small county in the semiarid region in the central part of the Sertão Baiano (the interior of the State of Bahia), covering 530 km2, with 10,500 inhabitants, 78% of whom live in rural areas. Water has always been scarce and of bad quality. Because of its scarcity, water is a source for political dominance, particularly in the rural zone. This concern led the CCSP (Centro Comunitário e Social de Pintadas-Pintadas Community Center) to develop an infrastructure for water storage.

The concrete plate cistern was invented about 35 years ago by Nel, a mason from Simão Dias, Sergipe. Building pools in São Paulo, he had learnt to use prefabricated cement plates. He returned to the Northeast and used his experience to create a new type of rural cistern. It is shaped like a cylinder, made of round pre-fabricated plates and called plate cistern.

Based on Nel's invention, the CCSP started training masons in Pintadas. Equipped with this skill, the costs and time to build cisterns were cut down. Today one needs only 3 working days and R$ 430,00 (US $260) to build a cistern with a 15.000 l capacity. So far we have built 650 concrete plate cisterns. A great advantage for the population who is now drinking cistern water rather than water from water holes, thus reducing the risk of diseases. People who used to walk a long distance to fetch water have now more time for other activities.

This is how Pintadas became known as pioneer in the building of concrete plate cisterns. Even though Pintadas didn't invent this cistern, it was here that this technique was first applied and it spread from here. Nowadays we are receiving many visits and we are training people and organizations all over the Northeast.

PDF of full document (2pp, 12kb)

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