2011 - Volume #35, Issue #6, Page #34[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Aqua Dam" Uses Water To Fight Floods
That slogan was displayed on a big sausage-shaped polypropylene woven fabric tube on exhibit at the recent Big Iron Show in West Fargo, N. Dak. The tube is called an Aqua Dam, and it’s an economical alternative to sandbagging, says exhibitor Richard Thomas of Fargo, N. Dak.
Thomas isn’t a dealer or distributor for the manufacturer of the Aqua Dam. But he recently used the Aqua Dam to save his home from the flooding Red River, and he wants rural people to know about it.
The Aqua Dam can be used any place where you have to block off water. It’s a system of flexible tubes that you fill with water, quickly creating a temporary dam. It consists of two side-by-side polyethylene tubes inside a single woven outer geotextile fabric tube. The two plastic tubes inside are filled with water simultaneously. The outer tube is open at one end, where it’s filled and drained, and closed at the other end. The inner tube runs down to the end that’s closed off, then makes a 180 degree turn and comes back to the open end.
Friction between the outer geotextile tube and the inner plastic tubes results in a solid, non-rolling “wall” of contained water which adjusts automatically to the terrain as the tubes are filled.
After the water goes down, you simply drain the tube and roll it up for storage.
Aqua Dams are available in sizes up to 16 ft. high and can be ordered in any length up to 1,000 ft. in one piece. A coupling collar at one end of the outer tube can be used to connect Aqua Dams together into greater continuous lengths. The weight of the water causes the bag to go somewhat flat, so after the bag is inflated with water it’s usually a bit more than twice as wide as it is high. “It’s the weight of the water and the double width to the height that makes it stable, as the water you’re holding back presses against it,” says Thomas.
Aqua Dams are designed to hold back 75 to 80 percent of their height in water, so if you want to hold back 2 1/2 ft. of water you’d need a bag that’s 3 ft. high. Aqua Dams come rolled up. “As the Aqua Dam is unrolled it can be turned around trees and corners; it keeps its shape when filled with water,” says Thomas.
Dave Doolaege of Scotia, Calif., came up with the idea for the Aqua Dam about 20 years ago. “Until now the Aqua Dam has been used mainly for stream diversions, temporary flood control barriers, dams, construction work, and temporary water storage. We haven’t marketed to farmers but that might change,” he says.
Thomas has used Aqua Dams to protect his home from spring flooding every year since 2009. “I join two 3-ft. high Aqua Dams together to form a donut all the way around my house. I use a total of 250 ft.,” he says. “It takes just 4 hrs. to set up the Aqua Dams around my house. I fill them by pumping water from the flooding river in my back yard.”
He says the Aqua Dam works “amazingly well”. “There’s no damage to your lawn, no wheel ruts from heavy equipment, and no worrying about the cleanup problems you have with sandbags. I think the Aqua Dam would work great for farmers worried about overland flooding and who don’t have access to a lot of sandbags or workers.”
Thomas paid $23 per ft. for his 3-ft. high Aqua Dams – a total of $5,750. But the first year he used them he had five neighbors who used sandbags lose their homes to flooding, and others had water damage. “I look at it as a prepaid insurance policy. It’s a comfort knowing I’ve got it,” he says.
Aqua Dams can also be used to provide temporary water storage for spraying crops or filling livestock tanks. “They might be useful if you have a slow running well and need to accumulate thousands of gallons over a period of time. You can just roll the tube out and fill it with water. When you’re done using it you just drain it and roll it back up for the next use,” says Thomas. “You can even transport water in an Aqua Dam by placing it in back of a pickup or flatbed truck.”
A 2-ft. high Aqua Dam is designed to hold back 19 in. of water and sells for $10 per ft.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Aqua Dam, Inc., 121 Main St., P.O. Box 144, Scotia, Calif. 95565 (ph 800 682-9283 or 707 764-1999; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.aquadam.net) or Richard Thomas, Fargo, N. Dak. (email@example.com).
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