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Aquaculture CRSP 21st Annual Technical Report
Institutionalizing Techniques for Building Hillside and Levee Ponds for Water Supply and
Aquacultural Development in Latin America

Tenth Work Plan, Adoption/Diffusion Research 1 (10ADR1)
Final Report

E. William Tollner, Brahm Verma, and Jennifer Maldonado
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, USA

Biological and Agricultural Engineering
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia USA

Daniel E. Meyer and George Pilz
Escuela Agrícola Panamericana
Zamorano, Honduras

Joseph J. Molnar
Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama, USA


The overall goal of this study is to collect and develop information required to institutionalize pond design in Honduras and Latin America. This study is coordinated with the training activity outlined in other Honduras Project investigations. A levee pond water balance that enables the determination of how much water is required to balance seepage, evaporation, and direct rainfall was developed in English and Spanish. The pump-in flow rate can also be determined that allows ponds to reach a target volume change of water per month. A strategy based on surface water capture by watershed and/or hillside ponds for meeting the levee pond demand was also evaluated. Using hillside ponds that fill by diverting upstream water appears to have promise for meeting water needs. A systematic approach using both models to reach a sustainable water supply target was proposed, which builds on ideas of the Food and Agriculture Organization. Both the levee pond balance model and the catchment model are built around the idea of balancing inputs and outputs, given monthly rainfall patterns, and thus address rainfall distribution as well as quantity. The models do not address water quality issues. The models were built using MS Excel® as a platform. Cautions are given not to exceed watershed sizes of 500 ha and storage ponds of 5 ha due to model limitations and safety concerns.

Honduras is a Central American country of approximately
11 million hectares with both Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Mountains may be as high as 2,600 m. Rainfall varies from 600 to 3,400 mm annually, with the highest precipitation generally associated with higher elevations (Anon., 2001). Temperatures above 1,300 m are usually too cool for tilapia production. Rainfall is unevenly distributed in the elevations where tilapia would most likely be produced, which requires innovative schemes for water supply development.

The current state-of-the-art approach for supplying small-to medium-sized communities with water for a variety of uses
(including ponds) is the water tube-spring. PVC or polyethylene (PE) pipe (12 to 25 mm in diameter) is run downslope from a naturally occurring spring to a site, which may be a kilometer or more from the spring. Springs are prevalent in mountainous areas at altitudes below 1,300 m. The excavated levee pond (Figure 1) is currently the most popular containment for fish production. The watershed pond is not widely used because the steep valleys do not readily enable suitable diversion spillways for adequate handling of high runoff rates during rainy seasons.

The overall goal of this study is to collect and develop information required to institutionalize pond design in Honduras and Latin America. This study is coordinated with the