How to Terraform your very own Oasis,



Terraforming the Earth!

Sand Pump Well Drilling
Cheap Well Drill
Sealing off the Well
Expansive Concrete
Unusual Water Pumps
Day/Night Temperature Difference Pump
Hydraulic Ram Pump
Bubble Pump
Oil Well Pumps
Landscaping your Oasis
Meet the Scientist

Oh what a big word!    Terraforming!

    But, think of the fun, the improvement, the profit, yes, and the satisfaction. Create an oasis in the desert, with a lake, the vegetation, the recreation, all with natural alternative energy.

    Good idea? Why not?

    It takes a special place, one that geologists and the Government are qualified to find. But it’s do-able.

  1. Select a special desert valley
  2. Which would have a lake, if it only had enough water
  3. No dams needed, if it already has the right shape.
  4. Land is available, the Government can make it work.
    Fly across the continent some time and look down. It’s mostly empty, baron, not used for anything else. There has to be a good location for your lake and its surrounding Oases Resort.

    Ok you’ve found the right place, but it’s dry as a bone— now! Many such places have an underground lakes already. But the surface is porous, sandy, so the rainwater— what little it does get, just soaks down into that underground lake. But the trees manage to find it with their roots.

    Now at this point, you go to NASA. Why? Because they already have satellites, with special earth-penetrating radar. They’ve mapped the whole Earth, they know where these underground lakes are. Get their maps and you’re a long way toward finding your terraformed home.

    Annually, there’s probably enough rainfall, if it wouldn’t just disappear into the ground. So how do you fix that?

    With plastic! And the help of a rich oil company who really needs some good press, even good advertising right now. At just the right place, you roll out the plastic and cover it with a little dirt and sand to protect it from the Sun’s UV rays, and the wind. You’ve got a lot of dirt and wind.

    You don’t need much of a waterproof layer, nor does it need much excavation. Just enough to prevent rainwater from soaking out of sight.

    You might even find some clay. You can spread it out, even on the surface. It’s the natural water barrier. It’s just in the wrong place.

    Name the resort after the oil company, it will look great on TV.

    On the “shore,” or what will become the shore, you drill a well down to that underground lake. And then pump the water up on top of your plastic and clay “lake bottom.”

Sand Pump:

    Now what you need is a “sand pump.” A what?

    An inexpensive way to drill down to that water. A sand pump is a heavy metal pipe that fits inside of a plastic well casing pipe. Leave plenty of room on each side of the metal pipe for rocks and sand to go between the outside plastic pipe, and the metal pipe. Say put a 4 inch metal pipe inside a 6 inch plastic pipe. See the illustration.

    The metal pipe has a sharp lower edge, for loosing the sand, with an open and close, one-way-valve. The top of the pipe also has a one-way-valve you can also manually open.

    You lift it, mechanically, with a natural-fiber rope. This heavy metal center pipe is then dropped suddenly onto the sand inside the outer plastic well pipe. What happens?

    You’ve poured a bucket of water into this concoction. The metal pipe cuts into the sand, causing it to become loose. The water washes this sand into the metal pipe. When you lift the metal pipe up several feet, it causes a suction pulling loose sand into the metal pipe.

    The metal pipe may be 10 feet long or so. After several drops, the metal pipe becomes full of sand. Where does it come from? The well you are drilling of course.

    This removed sand, gravel, and small rocks also comes from under the edge of the plastic pipe, allowing you to knock the plastic pipe down into the ground, just a little, but deeper each drop. You may need to place a piece of wood (to protect the plastic) on top of the plastic-well-casing-pipe, and hit the wood with a hammer.

    Do you see how your well is getting deeper and deeper?

    When metal pipe gets down 8 or 9 feet, the metal pipe is full of sand and gravel. Pull it up out of the plastic pipe and dump it out in a pile. You may need it for mixing cement later.

    Reinsert your sand pump back into your plastic well and bounce it up and down for another 8 feet, all the while you’re pushing (or hammering) the plastic pipe down into the ground.

    Now, you want to make sure there’s enough room between the plastic pipe and the metal one, so that rocks don’t jam it up. You may have to make the plastic pipe larger, if that happens.

    Keep up the good work. As you see your well being bounced into the ground, eventually it’ll get all the way into that lake you saw on NASA’s map.

    When the plastic pipe reaches into that water, you want it to come into the well pipe easily, so you’ve used a skill saw to put several vertical slots, maybe 6 or 8 feet long in the bottom section of plastic well-casing-pipe. You don’t want so many that the pipe becomes weak. Just enough to let the water in.

    Now another question is: how do you make the metal sand pump pipe go up and down?

    Back your truck or car up near the well site. (Assuming a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.) Jack up one side, and take off the wheel, and replace it with an extra wheel, but with no tire.

    The other side of the vehicle should be blocked real tight so the vehicle doesn’t move.

    Wrap your rope attached to the metal pipe a couple of times around the bare wheel. With the vehicle running, and turning the bare wheel, pull on the opposite end of the rope. It gets tight on the wheel, and pulls up your sand pump, because you’ve conveniently put up a 3-leged stand over the well, with a pulley for the rope. When the turning wheel on your vehicle pulls on the rope, up it comes.

    When you loosen your far end of the rope, it comes loose from the turning bare wheel, and down your sand pump goes, plunk for another bite of sand.

    The explanation may be long, but it works really neat. The method was popular back in the 1930’s, with Model A’s and the like.

    All you have to do is pull the rope tight, and up comes your heavy metal sand pump. Let it go, and it falls back for the next bite of sand. Every once in a while, you need to pull the pump all the way out and dump the sand.

    Why do you use a “natural rope?” Because many newer ropes are made of plastic, which will melt on the turning wheel, which is called a “cat’s head.” The natural rope won’t melt.

    It may take several helpers to drive the plastic down, while making the sand pump go up and down. With a little practice you’ll get the hang of it. Remember the wet reward, it keeps you going. And have a beer too.

An Easier Way:

    Now you tell us!

    They advertise well drilling equipment in Popular Science, Mother Earth News and the like. It only drills a small (about 3 inch) hole, but then why would you need a larger one?

    Follow their instructions, and make yourself a hole in the ground.

Finishing the Well:

    First the outside of the plastic-well-casing, as it’s called, needs to be sealed with clay and maybe some expansive concrete. This seals the well, so that contaminates don’t leak down the outside, and spoil your nice clean water.

    Jam the clay, and/or expansive concrete maybe 10 feet or so down the sides of your well casing until it’s tight all around. Thus, sealing the well, so that all water flow is now internal, under your control, so you can drink the water yourself.

Expansive Concrete:

    Mix some Portland Cement, fairly stiff, with just enough water to make it wet, but not sloppy. Have fresh-cut aluminum or iron filings, from a grinder. Put about a teaspoon full per cubic yard in the mix.

    Put it tight around your well casing. The iron will rust or the aluminum will corrode. It expands, and thus so does your concrete. When the concrete cures, your well is tight. Cool huh!

Water Pumps:

    Now that you have water, and a sealed well, how do you pull the water up into your kitchen, horse trough, or lake?

    There are several different types of pumps, and many commercial ones you can buy. If you want one of these, just go down to the hardware store and take your choice. But here, I’ll tell you about the lesser-known pumps, especially those that run on an alternative energy— like day/night temperature differences!

Day/night temperature-difference pump:

    Oh that’s exciting! But quite simple. Much easier than drilling the well.

    Build a sealed water tower. It doesn’t have to be very tall. Paint the water tank black. Out of its bottom is one pipe with a “T” for water input and output. Each side has a one-way check valve. They have them at most hardware stores. Plastic is ok, and easy to plumb.

    The check valves allow water to come into the tank from your well, at night, but not return to the ground in the daytime. The other one allows water to exit the big tank when the sun heats it up during the day, but prevents water or air from going back in to the tank at night. From time to time you may have to purge the tank of air that's in the ground water.

    What’s the result? You have all the fresh water you could want. You’ve taken advantage of a natural energy source. One common to desert areas, but seldom used. It’s not real expensive. And you can sit back in your swimming trunks, on your own beach, and have a beer.

    Doesn’t that sound cool?

    But it may not suck water up over 30 feet or so, because it’s actually being pushed by the atmosphere you allow to go down into your well by leaving the top open. You could put a filter there, so it gets air, but no bugs.

A Bubble Pump:

    Have you ever noticed the bubbles in your soda straw? In a small straw, say ¼ inch or less, the bubbles aren’t round. Round bubbles go up by themselves. But in a small straw the bubbles squish against the sides of the straw, and when they go up, they push soda with it. Now, let’s put that to work.

    Insert a straw-sized plastic pipe all the way down to the water in your well. In fact you can use a bunch of them, glued together into a piece of 1 inch plastic pipe, say 5 or 6 inches long. Along with another small plastic tube for the air input.

    On top, hook a small air pump, like from a fish tank, to force air into the plastic tube. The bubbles rise into the “straws” and force water with them. Up comes the air, and with it fresh water. Oh it’s so cool!

    If you need to fill a water tower, just extend the “straws” as high as you need, then the water will flow down into your tank.

Hydraulic Ram:

    An interesting pump is the Hydraulic Ram. It uses no commercial power, even electricity. It is powered by the flow of water down hill. Flowing water is directed into the “delivery pipe” where it simply flows out of the other end of the pipe. As the flow gets faster and faster, all of a sudden the “waste valve” slams shut, and the water pressure behind it is diverted under pressure into a small storage tank with air on top. The air is compressed and water under pressure is forced into the “delivery pipe”.

    Depending on the speed of the water flow, and the conditions of the design, it is able to pump a portion of the water quite a ways up hill.

    This process can be adapted to wave flow, and hydro flow, installed in a creek or river. And it’s inexpensive to build, and needs no monthly bill.

Oil Well Pumps:

    Why do oil wells go up and down? Because they are very very deep! Just too deep for either of the pumps above.

    Think of an old fashioned hand pump. There are two one-way check valves again, so water is forced to go up out of the well and not back down. One valve is placed at the very bottom, in the water it’s called a “foot valve”.

    A rod down the well hooks to a flexible rubber piston, which can act as the upper check valve, if shaped right. It’s called a “sucker washer.”

    The rod with the “sucker washer” is also all the way into the water. When the rod is raised, it pulls water up through the stationary foot check valve and into the cylinder between the valves. When the rod, and sucker washer are forced down, water flows in above the sucker washer, stopped by the foot valve from returning to the water source, and up the well and into your lake, water tower or whatever.

    What makes the rod go up and down? Well, a windmill of course. Do a Google image search on the Internet. You’d be surprised what comes up.

    Which pump you choose depends a lot on how large your well casing is, and how deep you have to go to get lots of water.

    There are books on this at the library, where you can get more detailed information.


    You’ve got water now, maybe even your lake is growing. Consider how much water you expect, and choose plants at your local nursery that will make your oasis a delightful place to visit. Whenever I see palm trees, I know I’ll be warm. Except in Butte Montana, where they actually have a lonely palm tree next to a car dealership. I guess the close building keeps it warm all through the freezing winter.

    I have other articles on solar powered mobile home parks and the like.

    You’re ready to roll!

Meet the Scientist

Meet the Scientist
Meet the Scientist
    Dr. John N. Hait

    Thanks for reading.