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Natural & Man-made Drainage Solutions

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June 2019 | Tuesday 09:12

From Natural Drainage to Man-Made Solutions

Although their designers may prefer to believe otherwise, it has to be admitted that many of the things we tend to regard as human accomplishments were actually invented by nature. Drainage solutions are classic examples of a process which, though adapted relatively recently by humans, was simply a derivative of a natural process that has been in operation since the first appearance of surface water on our planet. Whether it is achieved by natural or artificial means, the common aim of the process is to remove surface or subsurface water from a given area on land or within some man-made structure in which an excess of water has accumulated.

In nature, the process is achieved as a result of the action of gravity on flowing water, in which streams and rivers join to form the large drainage basins we know as lakes. Man-made solutions first appeared during the Bronze Age. In the major cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation, all houses had access to water and the excess was channelled into covered sewers and, under the action of gravity, into the soil, thus returning it to the water table. Similar systems were also adopted in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt at around the same time. Nothing changed much for more than four millennia and it was only during the 18th and 19th centuries that the use of hollow pipes began to be adopted for this purpose.

Today, in most countries, the use of artificial drainage solutions has become widespread. Examples are to be found on agricultural land and in city streets, in homes, on commercial and industrial premises, and even aboard seagoing vessels. In practice, wherever humans and water interact, drains of some kind are likely to be necessary. In the home, drains may be required for a number of purposes. Internally, they provide us with the means to dispose of the water from baths, showers, hand-basins, and sinks while on a roof or a balcony, their purpose is to assist the runoff of rainwater and their action may be the result of either gravitational forces or siphonage.

On commercial premises, particularly in those areas where food is processed or prepared, hygiene is a major issue and it is one that drainage solutions must be able to address if they are to be effective. These premises will normally have tiled or concrete floors and, because spillages are a frequent occurrence and large quantities of water are necessary for cleansing purposes, their drains must be able to handle high volumes of runoff while resisting any tendency to become blocked by particulate matter that may be present in the water.

Aboard any seagoing vessel, the risk of taking on excess water is a constant one. It may occur as a result of the action of wind on waves or of torrential rain. If allowed to continue, the build-up would quickly pose a serious risk to the vessel and its crew. In order to avoid this threat, it is essential to install efficient marine drainage solutions.

Specialised equipment such as this calls for a specialised supplier and, in this respect, the Blücher range offers the guarantee of quality and is backed by the knowledge and experience of Pescatech, a South African leader in this field.

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