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The Buckminser Fuller Challenge

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The business plan details a rainwater collection network that it says will solve much of the safe drinking water and sanitation problems for India’s homeowners and communities.
What we on the Bank-On-Rain team are always looking for is – low-cost rainwater storage This tank uses off-the-shelf material and easily produced PVC parts, all of which are readily available worldwide. The plan puts the costs for a 1,000 liter tank is US $10, or US $.01 per liter, while the closest competitor (a used steel drum) costs US $.06 per liter of storage capacity.
The tank consists of a length of chain link fence joined along the vertical edges to create a seamless metal framework. Wire hoops are inserted within the mesh to increase the framework’s strength.


I think one might need to stiffen it structurally more, for long term or more permanent usage and especially for larger sized tanks.

A seamless round sheet of plastic provides the watertight layer. It has PVC flanges attached to allow water to flow in and out of the tank.

inda3Elixix5tankflangeA round sheet of poly tarp protects the liner. The layers are attached to the framework’s upper edge using wire clips and the flanges are attached to the woven wire mesh using wire ties. A cover is attached to the framework to further protect the water. The tank is then placed on a clay, brick, or cement platform. Gutters, a downspout, and a ceramic filter complete the system.

If the tank is placed outdoors, an exterior shell will be necessary to protect the tank from UV rays, animals, children, water theft, and so on. Low cost shells include wattle and daub, thatch, bamboo, and roofing shingles.
Key features of the tank are that it can be disassembled for cleaning, repairs, storage or relocation. It is distributed as a kit in sizes up to 200,000 liters. It is inexpensive, light-weight, earthquake-proof, and upgradeable. Its low cost enables water to be stored in a battery of tanks
A ready-to-assemble version is ideal for disaster relief work being far more economical to fly in than pallets of bottled water.
A marketing evaluation of the concept pegged the odds of success in the marketplace at 82%. After a year of development and testing, that number would be significantly higher now. An expert in water tanks said, “I think this is a great idea. I’m surprised no one has thought of it before.”
I do agree with the expert, this is a great idea. And I would be really interested to hear any comments or suggestions, especially from anyone who has seen these tanks in action.

Ken Blair, Director of Bank-On-Rain. THINK RAIN!

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KEN BLAIR is a professional rainwater systems designer and installer in the Northwest, United State. His successful company Rainbank evolved in 2006. He is a founding director of Bank-On-Rain and brings the “nuts & bolts” expertise to the Bank-On-Rain board. Ken can be reached at

Originally published 27 December 2010 on Posterous as Rainwater Harvesting System for India (2100 views)


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