Rainwater Harvesting in Ndihwa

Two WfK trustees, Peter Minhinnett and Barrie Whitehead, visited the Ndihwa project in February 2009, where WfK has assisted in funding the provision of rainwater catchment, toilet and handwashing facilities to the Kenya Acorn Project (KAP) nursery.

Building work on the new nursery, was entirely funded by the efforts of the staff, students and friends of Brockwell Middle School, who also provided specially designed nursery teaching aids, so that when the nursery opened in January 2007, it could offer a high standard of nursery care. In the afternoon when the children have gone home, the building is used for the recently formed HIV/AidsYouth Support Group.

It is estimated that 300 million people in Africa live in situations of water scarcity. It therefore makes sense to harvest rainwater where the supply is sufficient and can be stored for later use. Rainwater harvesting is the deliberate collection of rainwater from a surface known as catchment and its storage in physical structures. Rainwater is harvested from roofs, and can provide affordable water for household use.

In this case, clean water was provided by rainwater harvesting from the roof of the nursery via guttering, diverted to underground storage tanks and pumped on demand to a roof tank where it is fed to the washbasins and toilet.

The 3 rainwater first flush separators have been installed, but are yet to be tested out. One of them is pictured on the left. They will prevent roof dirt contaminating the water when the rains arrive.

The installation of the guttering and storage tanks is of a satisfactory high standard. Two 10,000 litre rainwater storage tanks are underground with access chambers for maintenance. There is also an outdoor tap which is lockable but made available for community use at certain times. One WC and a washbasin are installed in the toilet compartment and a washbasin is available in each of the 2 classrooms. A pair of external latrines were also constructed in addition to the internal toilet and washbasins. The next part of the project is to provide a septic tank and soakaway, which is currently being progressed.

There are also 5 schools in the area, where further rainwater harvesting projects are being considered, at Rangenya, Ndihwa, Sibouche, Mbani and Pala primary schools. We were able to visit the first 4 of these schools, where there is already some rainwater catchment from the roofs of the school buildings, but the system is in need of maintenance and improvement.

There are old concrete storage tanks in need of replacement, there are buildings which can be provided with guttering to catch rainwater and there are tanks which are situated such as to make it dangerous and difficult to draw the water from, which we hope to contribute to making safer.