Harvesting by Rainwater

In contrast to the inefficiencies of borehole wells, harvesting water by rainwater collection is free and there is significant rainfall throughout the year in Suswa. Even the driest month still has a lot of rainfall. The rainfall averages 758 mm/year.

The System

A rainwater harvesting system provides a simple, sustainable and affordable solution to the Suswa community schools. Each system costs less than half of the average bore well. It involves the construction of a large metal roof and gutter system which feeds into a large capacity (300,000 litre) storage tank. One square metre of roof will harvest one litre of water per one millimetre of rainfall. With just 250mm of rainfall annually, the system is able to provide a school of 500 students with clean drinking water all year. Each system is also expandable to meet future growth or for agricultural/economic projects.
The tanks have three plaster linings, one with water-resistant ingredients and the final one with sugar added to strengthen the cement by 8%, lengthen the cement's life, improve water retention by 50%, and reduce cracking by 50%. Each tank has a 10-year guarantee.
The systems are built using local labour, skills, expertise and technology. All the materials are typically available in any rural hardware store. Most importantly, the systems do not involve any complicated equipment, are simple to maintain, and can be maintained locally. This gives the local community ownership and responsibly for their water management.

Project Partners

 The rainwater harvest system construction will be overseen by Africa Water Bank (AWB).
AWB is an organization which specializes in developing water collection systems and their management. They have already completed a successful project with the Rotary Club of Hurlingham in a nearby community. AWB will oversee the construction of the system using local labour and supplies. They will provide the necessary training of locals on maintenance and management of the system. AWB will also oversee the construction of toilet facilities and a sanitation station.
An important part of this project will also include an education program to promote health and sanitation education. This portion of the project will be overseen by a local organization which specializes in health education and are currently providing a program for another project coordinated by the Rotary Club of Hurlingham.