Water as an integral part of the rehabilitation of Marienburg, coming from the forces of community, culture and land
In spite of high amounts of precipitation, Suriname has long suffered from a lack of access to drinkable water. This is true also for the present paper ́s research site of Mariënburg. Moreover, Mariënburg has had issues with its economy ever since the closing of its primary employer, the NHM (Dutch Trade Association) sugar factory. The present design focused action-oriented study seeks to improve the quantity of grey water and restore economic vitality to the site.
The project was a joint effort between the University of Antwerp, Anton De Kom University and Plan4Cure. Research was done through co-evolutionary planning methodology, using its four fases of, tracing, mapping, agencying and diagramming. In practice, horizontal flow wetlands constructed are used for water-cleansing. The clean water is then brought to points of retention by a network of pipes or trenches. These are the defining features of the different design options. From the retention points, the clean water will flow back to the households via pipelines. Three different designs were explored on technical, spatial, institutional and financial level.
Out of the three designs, the classical trench based model proved to be the most viable. The paper also looks at other options and aspects to improve the quality of public space in Mariënburg. Concretely, in order to create a platform to implement the solutions, a Community Land Trust organizational structure is suggested. This system combines the expertise of stakeholders with community-based knowledge and power. Also, by means of this model, community-based tourism and other sustainable options toward economic growth may be developed. If effective, this model based on a combination of classical and contemporary solutions to water management problems can be used elsewhere in Suriname. In turn, such developments may help to revitalize the traditional values of the Javanese population of Mariënburg and thereby restore the quality of its community.