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Intake structures are used at the beginning of a water supply system. They act as the
medium by which water enters the system. These structures must be taken into account
broad differences in water depth, flow, quality and temperature. Sources of pollution and
the direction that current of flow are also debating factors.
This report will cover the basic forms of intake structures that exist, with primary
focus on the structures that are used in Guyana for surface water. The climate and usage of
these structures will determine their choice in a supply system. The report begins by listing
the various types of intake structures, the mechanisms by which they work, and their
specific application use.
It is required that after the water passes the intake, it must been screened, and as
such, screening and its systems are briefly covered in the later part of the report. Screening,
as you will discover later, is essential in removing unwanted objects from the water before
it enters the treatment system. This screening prevents any form of damage to the system
and acts as a pre-filtering of the water to be treated.

1.0 Intake
Water intake involves brining water from the source to the treatment facility. Surface water
from rivers, lakes or reservoirs flows into the transmission system of the plant, through an
intake structure. Ground water flow in an intake pipe from the aquifer or source, via
pumping mechanism through a transmission conduit to the treatment or distribution
system. As such, intake structures are set up to channel the water into a transmission

FIG 1.0 - The essentialness of intake and screening in the water supply process (drawn by J. Takchandra)

In the case of ground water structures, they safely bring up the water from the source with
no interception from soil, debris or other infestations. Once the water enters the plant,
treatment is proceeded.

Roles of intake structures

Intake structures are placed for two intrinsic purposes:
i. to supply water of the best possible quality from the source, and
ii. to protect the downstream equipment and piping from damage or clogging from
debris, flooding or wave action.


Types of intake structures

Intake structures may be classifies in two categories as seen in the table below:
1. Exposed

Design type
Tower integral with dam
Tower in lake
Shore inlet
Floating or moveable
Siphon well

Applicable to large systems
Navigation impact
Designed for floating debris
Good access O&M
Applicable to small systems

2. Submerged

Screened inlet crib

Gravel-packed wells
Horizontal collection systems
(infiltration bed)

No navigational impact
No navigational impact
No navigational impact, must have
favourable geology

Table 1.1 - Types of intake structures (McKenzie. L. Davis 2003, pg. 3-5)

Intake structures can utilize one of two mechanisms:
i. Pumping
A pump is a device that converts mechanical energy into hydraulic energy. It lifts water
from a lower to higher level and delivers it at a high pressure, or along the same potential
level. Pumps are employed to retrieve the water from the source and are used for the
following purposes:
To lift water from low areas
To deliver water at a desired pressure for transport
To supply pressure for fire hydrants

ii. Conveyance
The conveyance system channels the water from the source into a transmission main. This
then travels to the treatment plant. The main purpose of these structures is to provide calm
and still water for the water supply scheme. An example of this would be a sluice.
Here are the common forms of intake systems that are applicable to water supply domains:
1.2.1 River intake
Both submerged and inlet structures are used in rivers and include small sluices or
inlets, and submerged pumping structures. Large rivers that are equipped with
dams, the choice of intake is less critical since the water is not so unregulated.
Shore-based systems however, provide best access for operation and maintenance.
1.2.2 Reservoir and lake intakes
Exposed structures are used in large bodies of water (e.g. Canal No. One conservancy,
W.B.D.). These structures are widely used in warm climates since the climate permits
year round access (by a boat or bridge) for
maintenance. A classic tower may be used
with many sections (or cells for intake) to
provide redundancy.
Submerged structures avoid many problems
like that of exposed systems but are difficult
to maintain because of inherent lack of
access (e.g. water mains from Wales Sugar
Estate to Patentia housing scheme; passes
through and under back-dam trenches, uses
water for industrial processes).
FIG 1.1 Submerged intake for lakes and

reservoirs (Joanne E. Drinan pg. 62)

1.2.3 Canal intake

These see the form of sluices that can control water levels in the canal especially if
the source river or reservoir is tidal. They provide water supply that may be used
for simple screening for livestock farms or irrigation - see FIG 1.3 below.
1.2.4 Conduits intake1
The intake conduit connects the inlet works with the pump station. A tunnel or
pipeline may be used. An example of this type of structure would be city sewage
systems that recycle waste water. Large concrete or masonry conduits take waste
water to the treatment plant, and are situated under roads and buildings.

FIG 1.3 Intake sluice on river (drawn by J.


FIG 1.2 Intake tower structure ((Joanne E. Drinan

pg. 60)

It is important to note that these structures are less common in Guyana since lakes (or creeks) are not within the location
context to set up water supply system

2.0 Screening
A screen, in context of water supply systems, is a device with openings that removes bigger
suspended or floating matter in sewage which would otherwise damage equipment or
interfere with satisfactory operation of treatment units. Screening may occur once or a
number of times as the water flows from intake to treatment plant. Consequently, screening
follows intake. They remove rocks, sticks, leaves dirt lumps, and other debris. Very small
screens can be used to screen out algae in the water.
Screens are used in conjunction with intake structures to achieve a certain level of water
standard, which enters the treatment plant. The choice of screening apparatus widely
depends of the type of treatment required, the quality of raw water, and the source of the

Screens maybe classified as either:

Coarse screens
Large openings: 70 mm 150 mm
also called racks (main bar screens, see below) and composed of vertical
inclined bars
Medium screens
Clear openings: 20 mm 50 mm
Made up of bars
Fine screens
Perforated plates: less than 20mm openings
Cleaned devices with woven wire or cloth
Not suitable for sewage

2.1 Types of screens

2.1.1 Trash screens
Trash racks or rakes collect and trap large debris from the incoming water. These are
commonly used as the primary screening device (coarse screen) to remove the largest
debris before the influent water enters a
smaller screen. They are constructed of
steel or durable high density polymers. To
achieve greater effectiveness, multiple
trash screens are stacked along the
screening rack.
These can be installed on dam walls or on
the sides of buildings depending on the
intake requirements and set up.
FIG 2.1 Trash screen (MVN Consulting Ltd 2015-03-06)

2.1.2 Travelling water screens

These consist of a continuous series of wire mesh panels that are attached to a
continuous closed loop chain that are assembled on two rollers. The setup is then
placed in a channel of flowing water to remove floating or suspended debris. The

raw water passes through the revolving baskets and trapped debris is carried out of
the water by the roller action. High pressure sprays are then used to blast the debris
off the basket to restart the cycle.
These are best suited for slow flowing river installations.
2.1.3 Bar screens
Bar screens are designed to handle large debris. The actual screen consists of a rack
of straight steel bars welded at both ends to horizontal steel members. Powered
rakes move up and down the bar rack face to remove debris, as they move in and out
of flow. They are installed at an angle to the water surface for effective debris
2.1.4 Drum screens
The screen is mounted on a periphery cylinder that resembles an open ended drum.
The screen turns slowly on its horizontal axis picking up debris as the water flows
through it.

FIG 2.2 Drum screen (drawn by J. Takchandra)

2.1.5 Passive screens

These are also called stationary screening cylinders because they have no moving
parts. Cylindrical meshes are mounted on a horizontal axis and are oriented parallel
to the current in a water body. It takes advantage of natural current in the water to
trap the debris in the basket-like assembly.

3.0 References
Drinan, Joanne E. 2001. Water & Waste Water Treatment . CRC.
Lauterjung, Helmut. 1989. "IRCWASH.ORG." 1986 Planning. Accessed 03 10, 2015.
Lin, Shun Dar. n.d. Water and Waste water calculations. Vol. 2.
n.d. Water and Wastewater Engineering . Accessed 03 11, 2015.
n.d. "Water soures and intake." WHO. Accessed 03 12, 2015.
Wilson, E.M. 1990. Engineering Hydrlogy. Vol. Fourth. Palgrave MacMillan.