Author(s): Ryan Asman
Keywords: Rainwater harvesting; Developing country; Locally available materials; Water scarcity
Abstract: Three engineering projects were implemented in rural Uganda by a group of five American volunteers, sent by Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), and were assisted by local Ugandan students. Over the course of ten-weeks, three projects were implemented that dealt with issues of cooking fuel, water quality, and water scarcity. Highlighted in this paper is the implementation of a rainwater harvesting system helps mitigate the issue of water scarcity. One of the greatest challenges that farmers face in Uganda, according to the Ugandan nongovernmental organization VEDCO (Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns), is a lack of water resulting from unreliable rainfall. For instance, people in Namasagali Sub County travel an average of 2-5 kilometers to get water and spend an average of 3-5 hours collecting water each day. A rainwater harvesting system was constructed using locally available materials to provide a more consistent supply of water during the dry season when water is, at times, scarce. The design of a rainwater harvesting (RWH) system was an innovation that combined designs and innovations from several existing technologies, many of which are not developing world specific. There is virtually no foreseen environmental impact of the system. The project made advantages out of locally available materials, labor, and family financial contribution and responsibility. Improvements to construction craftsmanship, operational logistics, communication between partners, and feedback information are necessary for future endeavors of this kind.