Rain water tanks for Uganda

Failing or non-existent water infrastructure is a reality in many African countries, including South Africa.  Rain water tanks can go a long water to effectively becoming water self-sufficient and water bills will be reduced to very little.  Concrete water tanks have their place, especially if buried below ground level.  In most other instances, polyethylene or ‘plastic’ water tanks may be a better option.

concrete water tank
Harvesting rain from a concrete water tank was a foreign concept to Banet Mutungi.

That is, until Emily Parsons, her father Brett McDonald and a group of The Village Project volunteers visited Watoto village in Gulu, Uganda.

Last year they built four rain water tanks for a home there that looks after up to 250 orphaned or abandoned babies at any one time.

In 2011 a team built four tanks in the village of Suubi.

Banet now has the skills to be project manager for a rain harvesting project that is being rolled out in stages to eventually supply the entire village of Watoto with 20 tanks and a sustainable supply of water.

The first eight tanks will be built this year.

The project will become a model that can be marketed to other rural places in Uganda, in turn supplying Watoto Village with a sustainable income.

Watoto village is run by a child care ministry which creates single family homes for widows and orphans, and an education programme to bring stability and hope back into the lives of children in the war-ravaged country.

Many of them are ex-child soldiers. Others have been neglected or abused and are suffering extreme malnutrition when they arrive.

Banet spent three weeks in July working alongside Brett McDonald and his Stoney Ridge team building water tanks on Waiheke Island.

Engineering consultancy company Beca has come on board to help with the water supply model for Watoto.

Banet says the trip has been a worthwhile visit.

“Concrete is everywhere in Uganda but we had never seen this type of rain water tank before. Water is not an easy resource there. We had been using a bore hole in Watoto and would have to buy water in the dry spell.

“We are not the only ones who need these water tanks. They are needed all over Uganda. Me being here is part of us getting the solution to Watoto and to our nation.”

Watoto babies’ home team leader Annie Doguid has also been visiting the island and was at a fundraising dinner at The Oyster Inn on Thursday. It raised $3000 towards the project.

She says babies “take up a lot of water” and the new water tanks have been invaluable.

“Our water and electricity supply is unreliable in Uganda. One time we were three weeks without water. Since Emily and her team built four water tanks for us last year we have not had to rely on the city water supply at all and there has been much less sickness.”

Emily established The Village Project in 2008. Since then, she has inspired 32 volunteers to join her on four visits to Uganda. They have built a house, two classrooms and four rain water tanks.

A team of nine volunteers is heading to the country on August 13 to build the next four water tanks, and Banet’s team will produce a further four.

“The ministry rescues the poorest of the poor and raises them up with a long term, holistic approach to be leaders of their nation. They are incredible individuals. We believe it’s worth the investment,” Emily says.

“Water is one of the world’s most basic needs. We’re doing something about it.”

Visit thevillageproject.org.nz to find out more or make a donation.

Source: Stuff.co.nz (By George Gardner)

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