Direct surface intake


Direct surface intake is a surface water method where water from a stream or lake/reservoir is led through a suction pipe to a pump. Intake is equipped with screen or gabion to avoid debris in pump. Intake might be downstream from dam to allow for a sufficiently high water level.


River flow determines size of user group and volume and expenses of intake. A relatively cheap and simple water supply method. Costs can be very low (just hang the suction tube into the river) to several thousand dollars if pump stand has to be protected against floods or if a ‘stellage’ needs to be built.


Direct river intakes can be small and implemented by users. Bigger intakes for large user groups can be implemented by a water company or other local authority. Management is likely to be combined with managing the water treatment.


Locating downstream from agricultural activities and human settlements increases risk of contamination. Over-abstraction affects both sustainable use and ecosystem. Inlet can become clogged by silt or debris. River flow induced bank erosion can be damaging to inlet and pipe system.


Low water table may prompt dam construction. Daily operation includes inlet inspection and valve or sluice adjustment. Infrequent cleaning of inlet, screen reparation and erosion damage control is necessary. O&M can be done by skilled caretaker.


The key problem is water quality. Awareness-raising required: untreated surface water is unsuitable for drinking. In the wet season high turbidity is likely and might cause problems. Excessive water extraction may lead to friction with downstream users.

Relevant remarks:

No relevant remarks for Direct surface intake.