Rain Water Harvesting in Schools
Many schools in East Pokot have large water storage tanks, but no means of collecting rainwater. This leaves many schools without water. Students without water suffer poor concentration and lack of attendance. Learning time is significantly reduced due to time to collect water. In many cases, students collect dirty water from near by sources, leading to easily preventable water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, chloria and dysentery.
To collect clean rain water - installation of roofing gutters - is all it takes. This is a low cost, but effective solution that and enables all round water for many schools. This year we will be installing these in as many schools as funding allows.
Sand Dam 2017
Our vision of 2017 is to build a Sand Dam in East Pokot.
A sand dam is a reinforced rubble cement wall built across a seasonal sandy river. They are a simple, low cost, low maintenance technology that retains rainwater and recharges groundwater. Sand dams are the most cost-effective method of water conservation in dryland environments. When it rains the dam captures soil laden water behind it – the sand in the water sinks to the bottom, whilst the silt remains suspended in the water. By re-charging the aquifer, sand dams provide enough water to establish tree and vegetable nurseries. Together, sand dams, farmland terracing and tree planting form a cycle of water and soil conservation that is self-perpetuating. Conserving water and soil on farms increases soil fertility, reduces the time spent collecting water, and increases the time available to farm, learn and innovate. Sand dams provide the water and time necessary for people to productively farm. A year-round water source saves time and enables farmers to invest in improved agricultural techniques such as: inter-cropping, crop diversification, zero-grazing, and seed banks. Such activities facilitate the production of a secure and diverse supply of food, even during periods of drought. Increased, more reliable and diversified crop production improves nutrition and food security, with surpluses sold at local markets; enabling the transition from subsistence to income generation. When families can produce food, and generate an income, they are able to afford education for their children. With ready access to water, children don't have to spend their time collecting water, are less likely to suffer acute health impacts of diarrhea and water-borne disease and realise their potential for a future outside of poverty. Sand dams can...
• Combat desertification by recharging groundwater and creating opportunity for sustainable land management.
• Mitigate climate change by creating water security and the time to practice climate-smart agriculture.
• Reduce conflict by increasing access to water for people and livestock in water-scarce dryland environments.
• Support disaster resilience by creating a buffer against drought and enabling vulnerable people to improve food production.
• Enable the installation of shallow wells producing safe drinking water.
Research on Kenyan dams shows that only 1 to 3% of rainwater is retained behind any individual dam, the remainder continues its natural flow towards the ocean. Eventually the dams fill with sand - sometimes after only one rainfall or over 1 – 3 seasons. 40% of the volume of the sand held is actually water.
Supported by Moana Road, New Zealand.