Large earthbag water tank at Farea Assembly Presbyterian Church in Mele Village, Vanuatu.

Large earthbag water tank at Farea Assembly Presbyterian Church in Mele Village, Vanuatu.

We were pleasantly surprised to see this earthbag water tank just down the road from a house we (Liz’s group) were building. The church group saw our project and on their own figured out how to use the same earthbag techniques to make their water tank. No plans, no technical assistance, nothing. This goes to show how simple earthbag water tanks are. My recent talks with builders have been particularly fruitful. They grasp the idea in just a few minutes since they know building basics and the terminology. Simplicity is important to help these ideas spread on their own. (That’s what the best ideas do.)


Earthbag Water Tank, Mele Village, Vanuatu — 4 Comments

  1. The church hired the builders we trained on the house at Mele and Stephen used the same method we taught him. Two rows of barbed wire between the rows of 25 kg rice bags full of coral crush. The chicken wire was tied close to the sides as string was laid between each layer to accomplish this. The wire sitting close reduces the thickness of the cement. The inside was sealed with cement mixed with water and BondCrete to make a waterproof fungus free lining.

  2. Owen, thanks for sharing this. Could you tell us more about the specifics? Are the inside and outside plastered with concrete? Is it a standard EB structure with barbed-wire in between the rows of bags? Thank you sir, Morgan.

    • The church did this on their own and so we have very few details. All I know is they saw Allan’s earthbag house down the road and decided to make a water tank using the same basic method. They used polypropylene flour bags, not the tubes that we used on Erakor Rd. women’s centre. Tubes are much faster and more efficient than bags because they’re narrower, use fewer materials, create minimal gaps.

      For large tanks like this one I would use rebar down through the center of the bags/tubes or barbed wire. Use both on really large tanks. Water creates a lot of outward force against the sides of the tank.

      Yes, both sides of the tank are plastered with cement, including the top.

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