According to the World Health Organization, lack of access to clean water affects 1 in 3 people in Africa. However, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the continent experiences enough rain to satisfy the demands of roughly 9 billion people – assuming enough infrastructure is in place to capture and treat it.
Particularly for the 63% of Sub-Saharan Africans living in rural areas unserved by centralized water treatment systems, harvesting rainwater from rooftops is a useful way to conserve drinking water. Because rain captured from rooftops rather than ditches or roadways runs a lesser risk of containing pollutants, harvested rainwater can be used for irrigating crops, contributing to food security. It also reduces burdens on women and children, who collectively spend about 16 million hours each day traveling back and forth to the nearest clean water source, according to estimates from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Building basic, household-scale rainwater systems need not be an expensive or technically demanding process. These systems do, however, require site-specific planning and an idea of where to begin. RWH Africa, a new app available on smartphones and web browsers, provides this information to rural Africans interested in harvesting rainwater.
For more information, please visit https://stormwater.wef.org/2019/06/united-nations-smartphone-app-promotes-rainwater-harvesting-in-africa/