Low-cost methods of rainwater storage: results from field trials in Ethiopia and Kenya uri icon


  • Rainwater harvesting can be defined as the collection and storage of rainwater run-offfrom a variety of surfaces for domestic use or agricultural purposes. The investiga-tions described here are for the storage of rainwater for domestic purposes. This wateris collected mainly from roofs, and is sometimes referred to as ëblue waterí in contrastto ëgreen waterí, which is water that is utilized by living organisms (plants and ani-mals) for production.Awareness of the need for rainwater harvesting has been growing with the realiza-tion that in many areas existing water resources cannot meet the needs of an expand-ing population. The quality of existing water supplies is often poor and leads tocontinuing problems of water-borne diseases. In many areas there is little or no likeli-hood of a piped water supply becoming available. Therefore, roof-water harvestingwould appear to offer a feasible way of improving quality and availability.In Ethiopia it is estimated that out of the total population living in rural communi-ties, only 3ñ4% have access to a safe water supply. Diseases caused by poor sanitationand lack of hygiene in the home are a constant threat. In addition, much time andenergy is taken up with fetching water from distant sources. At least once every day,women, children, and in rare cases men, leave their homes carrying a variety of con-tainers to collect water for domestic use. During the long dry season and in the morearid areas individuals may travel as far as 10ñ15 km to fetch water. In Kenya it is notuncommon for girls to be withdrawn from school during dry periods to help with fetch-ing water

publication date

  • 2002