International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999
Section 12: Posters
Pintadas: Experiences with Concrete Plate Cisterns
Edny Marcos Mendes
Escola Família Agrícola de Pintadas, Bahia, Brasil
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
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.
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