In Rwanda, residents of the Mudende Sector, Nyabihu have started the collection of rainwater in response to water shortages.
Traditionally, rainwater was harvested by excavating a hole, then lining the hole with water-proof tarpaulin. The wider the hole, the more water it could collect per hour.
When I was a child, I used to watch a great deal of water flow out of the rain gutter’s outlet. I now realize that the roof counts as a tremendously large rainwater collection area which can collect a great amount of water per hour as it all runs off into the gutter.
This water can be piped into a tank, and used to water the lawn during dry weather, or it can be passed through a whole-house filter and used to flush toilets.
“Before I set up the facility in my home, I would walk for about 10 kilometres to get to the well. Others used to walk longer distances so we decided to adopt rain water harvesting, for a sustainable solution,” Eneas Serugendo, a resident of Bihungwe cell, in Mudende Sector says, adding that rain water harvesting started after the government successfully embarked on a programme to eradicate thatched houses countrywide.
“When one was unable to fetch the water, they paid between Rwf200 and Rwf300 per jerrycan (of 20 litres) which was a lot. These facilities came in handy and the money that would have been used to buy water is saved,”.
According to Serugendo, the water collected during rainy season is used well into the dry seasons. Why can’t rainfall just be distributed evenly?
“Life has changed in terms of hygiene because we regularly bathe and wash our clothes which was rare before because of water scarcity,” he said.