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Ugandan initiative makes advice and funding available for rainwater harvesting

24th November 2022

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The Mvua Water Harvesting Initiative is providing advice and making it easier for Ugandans to access funding to invest in harvesting rainwater for households and agriculture.

Harvesting rainwater from rooftops is an affordable and easy technology that can improve access to water. The Mvua initiative gathers stakeholders from all sectors in Uganda to promote rooftop rainwater harvesting.

This new rooftop rainwater harvesting alliance was established in October through collaboration between the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment and the private sector with assistance from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Copenhagen Climate Centre.

“With the effects of climate change leading to seasonal rainfall variations, the traditional sources of water supply have become unreliable. With a stiff growth in water demand, the only solution is investments in rainwater harvesting systems. If well sized to meet the requisite water demand, they can provide a steady all year-round water supply,” says Mvua Water Harvesting Initiative chairperson Stanley Watenga.

The Ugandan government has set out an ambitious plan to provide safe and reliable access to water resources to all by 2030. However, only 65% of the population currently have access to quality drinking water, with 7.4-million people in rural areas still waiting for access to clean water.

Rooftop rainwater harvesting has the capacity to play a crucial role in achieving the country’s national water access targets, but the potential is far from reached. Despite encouragement of rainwater harvesting technology by public authorities, it only contributes 0.4% of water capacities in rural areas.

“The new Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting Alliance will work to unlock the potential of rainwater as an important resource that can be used, and can be a life-saving alternative, where conventional large scale water supply infrastructure is impossible,” Watenga says.

If applied correctly, harvesting rainwater not only provides water for domestic use and mini-irrigation systems, but also for the provision of water for livestock. Within the agricultural sector, rainwater harvesting ensures production, even during dry seasons helping farmers adapt to the unpredictable rainfall patterns of climate change.

“Harvesting rainwater is a simple technical solution that can be installed almost everywhere. The Mvua Water Harvesting Initiative provides advice on sizing, system component procurements, installation and funding possibilities,” says Watenga.

Meanwhile, as well as working closely with the alliance, the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre has also published a market brief highlighting the potential of rainwater harvesting and supported a special broadcast on Ugandan television presenting the advantages of collecting rainwater from rooftops.

Further, even though collecting the rain that falls on a roof is an easy technology, there are many considerations when installing new systems.

Therefore, the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre has published a list of frequently asked questions and answers on rooftop rainwater harvesting, which covers everything from what is rainwater rooftop harvesting and what types of roofs are suitable, to finance options and how to avoid mosquitoes, the centre adds.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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