Notes to broadcasters on rainwater harvesting

    | March 28, 2011

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    Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of runoff water produced by rainfall.  Rainfall harvesting systems generally have three parts: a collection area, a conveyance system, and a storage area. For example, in simple household systems, rainwater can be collected from roofs, then channeled with a pipe or gutter into a barrel or container. The micro-dam in this week’s story works on the same principle, and can benefit a whole community. These kinds of micro-dams are more expensive to build and maintain than household rainwater collection systems, but serve a larger area and many people. In the hilly region of Tanzania where this story is based, there is a tradition of storing water in small dams called ndiva. This tradition has been developed with the introduction of cement micro-dams and channels.

    You can see more and hear Mr. Mkumbwa in this YouTube video:

    March 22, 2011 is World Water Day and events are taking place all week. Here are some sites where you can find out more:

    Information and stories about water from around the world from the Coalition for World Water Day:
    October 2005.
    Zimbabwe: Collecting rainfall in the city (FRW 141, January 2011).

    World Water Day 2011 official site:

    The Southern Africa Water Wire, with in-depth coverage of a diverse range of water-related issues in Southern Africa:

    Many more links and resources on water can be found in “Water harvesting: An issue pack,” which was distributed with Farm Radio International’s script package 89 in December 2009:

    Here are some recent scripts on rainwater harvesting:

    Catch rain from your roof. Package 89, Script 6, December 2009.

    A woman farmer harvests water and grows vegetables in the dry season. Package 76, Script 9,

    Save Time with Rainwater Harvesting. Package 68, Script 7, September 2003.

    Farm Radio Weekly has previously published stories on rainwater harvesting:

    Kenya: Rainwater harvesting improves rural livelihoods (FRW 15, March 2008).

    Are you producing a program to mark World Water Day? Such events provide an opportunity to raise awareness of local concerns and issues. Think about a specific topic related to water that is relevant in your community. It could be the lack of maintenance at public water points, or recurring floods, or the lack of sanitation in local schools. Ask the people affected about the difficulties they face, and how they have tried to resolve the problems.

    -Have they been able to find help or advice?

    -What long-term effects are likely if the issue is not resolved?

    -Do communities have stories of how they overcame difficulties?

    -Can individuals make a difference, or is collective effort required?