Also refer to the “Water” chapter.
|Rainwater harvesting on a commercial farming shed. Picture used courtesy of Helen Gordon, WWF-SA.|
Rain water harvesting (RWH) is increasingly being accepted as a practical method of providing both irrigation and potable water in agricultural and development projects throughout the world.
Enough rain falls on the African continent to supply the water needs for 13 billion people, twice the current world population. However, little of the rainfall is collected or stored through sustainable methods, such as small and large-scale rainwater harvesting.
In South Africa, where the backyards of rural homesteads add up to a whopping 200 000 hectares (i.e. double the current area under smallholder irrigation), the potential impact on food security is more than significant.
The level of economic activity has been shown to double in rural villages with access to more water. This has a direct impact on poverty. Every household with a roof can potentially harvest and store rainwater.
RWH has wide application also in urban and peri-urban areas where the quantity, reliability and quality of piped water are sometimes questioned. Some rainwater might require treatment before it is considered suitable for drinking. So-called “appropriate technology” methods (e.g. as solar water disinfection) provide low-cost disinfection options for treatment of stored rainwater for drinking.
Source: UN Environment Programme (UNEP) “Environmental Food Crisis” report, May 2009. Find it at www.unep.org; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainwater_harvesting; Tsepho Khumbane, Trustee of The Mvula Trust (adapted)
2. Role players
- African Conservation Trust Tel: 031 765 3957 https://projectafrica.com Gardens and RWH for schools
- Applied UV Tel: 021 448 6721 www.applieduv.co.za Applied UV specialises in ultraviolet water disinfection
- Amanzi For Food Tel: 046 603 7276 http://amanziforfood.co.za Training and information providers
- Aquamat Tel: 011 472 1311 www.aquamat.co.za
- ARC–Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-SCW) Tel: 051 861 1172 / 063 011 8849 Fax: 051 861 1027 bothac [at] arc.agric.za Near Bloemfontein, the ARC has developed In field Rainwater Harvesting systems, making crop-ping viable in areas where people had abandoned crop production.
- Baobab Water Solutions Tel: 082 348 3953 http://baobabwater.co.za
- Builders Warehouse Tel: 0861 335 2739 www.builders.co.za Various water storage devices which can be attached to downpipes.
- DPI Plastics Tel: 011 345 5600 www.dpiplastics.co.za
- Filter Shop Tel: 012 653 8088 www.filtershop.co.za/rain-water-harvesting
- Free Rain Conservation Tel: 071 664 6442 www.freerain.co.za
- Gauteng Water Heating Tel: 074 865 6923 http://gwhsolar.co.za/water-harvesting/
- Hydrex Water Storage Tel: 011 034 7400 www.hydrex.co.za
- Institute of Natural Resources Tel: 033 346 0796 http://inr.org.za
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