Rainwater Harvesting Project

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Rainwater Harvesting Project

Rainwater harvesting project

Rwanda is characterized on the one hand by high rainfall with two raining seasons. On another hand, the country has the lowest per capita water availability and storage capacity. Runoff occurs when rainwater flows over the land, and picks up contaminants, such as sediment and nutrients that pollute drinking water sources and pose risks to human health. The most drinking water sources to be affected by runoff are surface water sources such as lakes, rivers and streams, and groundwater can be also negatively impacted. Erosion is the loss of soil from the land through natural events such as wind and runoff. It is a process that is always occurring, but can happen faster if no erosion controls are in place. Like runoff, erosion allows unhealthy sediments and nutrients to enter into drinking water sources.

There are many reasons to protect drinking water sources from runoff and erosion. The main reason is to keep sediment and excess nutrients out of our drinking water supplies in order to protect our health. Having clean, healthy sources of drinking water also saves us from having to treat contaminated water to make it safe for drinking and to help from having to find new sources of clean, healthy water when old ones are polluted. Other benefits of protecting against runoff and erosion are to: help the landowner protect the health and value of his land and water features; and help agricultural operators protect the health of their livestock and livelihood.

The provision of adequate water supply services (WSS) plays a crucial role in preventive health care and is more generally a prerequisite and indicator for socio-economic development. Access to drinking water is a basic amenity, ranked among the highest priority public services by Rwanda’s population. It reduces time spent on fetching water and has a positive impact on school enrolment and attendance, particularly for girls. The lives of women are strongly affected by unsafe, distant water supply, as women are generally responsible for water collection for household hygiene.

Poor water supply and sanitary conditions due to the lack of adequate water supply promote diarrhea, intestinal parasites and environmental enteropathy, and have complex and reciprocal links to malnutrition in children. In Rwanda, communities suffer from lack of domestic water supply as well as the provision of water for economic activities through public piped networks and protected point water sources in rural and urban areas, while the rainwater flows several months every year. Underprivileged people share swamp water with animals both in rural and urban areas. Rwanda is vulnerable to runoff and soil erosion, floods and other forms of hazards related to rainwater. “Rwanda Environment Awareness Organization” (REAO) intends to implement the “Rainwater Harvesting Project” in high density areas in Rwanda. Rainwater from household roofing creates runoff and soil erosion that damage environment and mess up downstream drinking water sources. However, rainwater harvesting tanks can contribute to improve water availability, on the one hand, and mitigates the hazards related to excess runoff, on the other side.

Objective of the project

The main objective of this project is to protect the community drinking water sources from runoff contamination and soil erosion in order to improve livelihood through multiple use of rainwater.

Purposes of the project

Specifically, this project intends to:

  • Identify underprivileged households (HHs) in the selected areas in order to be provided with plastic rainwater harvesting tanks.
  • Train identified underprivileged household heads in rainwater collection, treatment for household hygiene and other domestic utilizations (drinking, cooking, washing, cleaning, and irrigation).
  • Supply and install rainwater harvesting tanks in the selected areas.
  • Ensure communities use installed rainwater harvesting tanks for multiple purposes.

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