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Turning to ground water harvesting

Radial collector wells systems
: Radial collector wells systems are installed some 100m away from the Hang River in Seoul, enabling river rehabilitation to take place

Sime Darby looking at Korean firm to supply drinking water
IN an ever expanding city, supplying drinking water to its population is becoming more difficult as natural water reserves are depleted.

In Seoul, a city with a population of 12 million, ground water harvesting using the radial collector wells system makes it possible for a new water source to be tapped, aside from traditional surface water harvesting.

Da Joo Construction Co Ltd, the company responsible for the installation of 200 such wells throughout South Korea of some 300 since 1981, has been named as one of the possible contractors for Perak's RM1.2 billion ground water harvesting project in Batang Padang.

However, Sime Darby Bhd head of water management, energy and utilities Dr Azuhan Mohamad said that Da Joo would be one of few companies that would have to bid for the project.

Sime Darby is set to undertake the water project in Perak and is currently looking at companies involved in such projects and the technologies employed.

Azuhan told this to a group of Malaysian media representatives on a familiarisation tour of ground water  technology in South Korea.

This green technology will contribute 20 per cent of the treated water supply to the public (including deep wells), said Dr Jae Ha, Da Joo's director of the overseas projects department.

He said that unlike surface water harvesting, one need not worry about depletion of water supply and it had a minimal impact on river flow and other surface water bodies as the ground water abstraction took place at unconfined aquifers away from rivers and other surface water bodies, and the recharge rate for the alluvial aquifer was rapid in conditions where the ground water head was higher than the river head.
Dr Jae also said that the possibility of industrial waste seeping into the ground water was very minimal as the radial collector walls were dug deep into the bed rock.

He added that this system was also used to rehabilitate rivers and streams.
Each well takes six months to construct and once the system is up and running, little maintenance is needed.

The wells, which can measure between four and eight metres in diameter, depending on the number of pumps, can harvest between 20,000 to 40,000 cubic metres of water per day.

During drier seasons, water is pumped at a level considered optimum based on studies and analysis to prevent over-abstraction of water.

“There are many other methods of harvesting water and there is also no such thing as the best system. What we use however, is suited to our conditions based on the aquifer,” said Dr Jae.

However, maintenance is very minimal in the long-term and the water quality is maintained because it is naturally filtered as it goes down the ground levels thus, costing less to purify. After the installation, it only needs to be managed,” he said.

Dr Azuhan said that as part of its first pilot scheme, Sime Darby is expected to appoint new consultants for the project by mid-January next year.

“We are targeting the project to finish by end 2012 and by Jan 1, 2013, we can start supplying the water.
“The project calls for the abstraction of 500 million litres of water per day (mld),” he said.

He said the technology, that will be new in Malaysia, will reduce the dependency on surface water resources and improve the sustainability of water supply services as well as conserve the environment.
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