Since the invention of the pot, water has been collected from the dripping cave walls, or the dwelling house. The vessels may have changed and the introduction of the tin roof has made the water collection a little more efficient, but the capacity to store the collected water has always been limited to the size and numbers of the pots.
Water is at a premium in the rural areas, people have to walk long distances to wells and rivers. The provision of boreholes helps to bring clean water closer to the home, but still the task of collecting the water is time consuming and hard labour. Children mostly have the task of bringing back sufficient water for cooking and washing and traditionally the water is carried on their heads which may look sweet in the pictures, but can’t be good for their physical development and time lost from just being children.
Tambala like very many, is a small hamlet deep in the rural area with no access to electricity or mains water. FOMO a number of years ago installed a borehole and built a centre to serve both Tambala village and the surrounding area, but the need for more has always been at the back of our minds.
The surface area of the FOMO centre roof at Tambala is around 432 meter square ie the building is 36 meters (118 feet) long and 12 meter (39.5 feet) wide, which we felt was large enough to collect sufficient water over the rainy season, (December to April) to allow it to be used during the dry season for vegetable production. Some rain does fall between May and November with October and November being the driest months.
With the villagers limited means of collecting water, there is little or no water for the production of food during the dry season, It would be nice to provide everyone with a tank and guttering, but the cost really rules this out, but something can be done, and it was with great pleasure that the South Ribble Rotary Club had the vision and took on our proposal to fund a water harvesting project at the FOMO centre at Tambala village.
Due to the non standard overhang from the edge of the roof and the fascia board we had to make some modifications to the standard gutter brackets and with the enthusiastic help of the children at FOMO Kumwamba, we soon had a little production line going. The ground work was completed at Tambala and the three 6000 litre tanks installed. Due to the remoteness of the centre and the standard of the roads it was some days before the rains subsided long enough so we could go out and fit the guttering and pipe work. One thing about fitting the gutters in the pouring rain is that you know instantly that they are working, but we managed and within half an hour of connecting the down pipe into the tank, we already had a foot of water in the bottom.
This project will help to provide a daily supply of water and sufficient to grow vegetables in the dry season to help nourish the children, but this could not have been achieved without outside funding, we have six further buildings that are suitable for this project and if you would like to help, please contact me. Click Here
A further development of the water harvesting project is to add a solar heater; this would provide hot water for bathing and washing clothes etc and reduce the need for firewood.