Kibet Ken

Rainwater Harvesting in Baringo County – A Solution To The Water Crisis

By : Kibet Ken

Baringo | – There are about 390.000 drilled and equipped boreholes in Africa. Most have been constructed by governments, well-meaning people, organizations or charities. Incredibly more than 50% of them have been abandoned (IIED research paper 2008) or do not work because no one is available or able to repair them or the water they pump is too saline for human use. In Kenya the number of dysfunctional drilled boreholes is more than 60% and in the Rift Valley this rises to more than 80% with some Counties exceeding 90% dysfunctional boreholes – including West Pokot, Baringo and Narok Counties.

Despite this staggering failure rate they are still the preferred technology for providing clean water in Africa and Kenya – ignoring the availability of less expensive and more appropriate technology that can be maintained locally, provide much cleaner water, is infinitely easier to maintain and operate – and unlikely to break down.

One of these technologies – simple rooftop rainwater harvesting with high capacity storage – and simple filtration has been developed and improved by the Africa Water Bank – a medium sized Kenya and Australia based organization. It is a clever, small scale and efficient adaptation and improvement of a water collection method that has been used successfully for thousands of years and is suitable for most rural and urban African communities, schools and organizations – and now being successfully used in hundreds of places throughout Kenya in more than a dozen counties. Every rainwater harvesting system constructed by Africa Water Bank in Kenya continues to provide clean water all year round. None are dysfunctional.

The system uses existing or purposely built roofing to harvest rainfall – super-sized guttering to ensure all water is collected – innovative yet simple pre and post collection filtration systems – large scale compartmentalized tanks sized to suit specific needs that can be easily cleaned – and a guarantee that the systems will not fail or leak. We can also equip systems with cash or cashless Kiosks for water distribution or plumbing to transfer water to other locations or storage facilities.

The barriers to safe water in Africa are frequently the same – the wrong technology – poor maintenance – poor management – and failure to take responsibility for ownership and development of a safe water point – and of course high salinity levels of ground water – which is the case in the Rift Valley. Many of these barriers are linked – fix one and the other three tend to fix themselves. If you use technology that people know, understand and have experience of – they usually have the skills to manage, maintain and take ownership of it – all very important considerations in the development of any water point in Kenya. (editor : af)

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