It was reassuring to hear former Prime Minister Raila Odinga talk about rainwater harvesting during his address to the Mount Kenya Youth Group in Nairobi this week. Mr. Odinga rightly mentioned that in this era of climate change where rainfall is scarce and unpredictable, rainwater harvesting offers an excellent strategy for food security. Indeed, the United Nations has cited rainwater harvesting? -? As a simple and proven method of adapting to climate change.
It should be noted that climate change has a negative impact on productivity, especially in arid and semi-arid areas which occupy 80 percent of Kenya’s landmass. And for this reason, rainwater harvesting is convenient. So what does rainwater harvesting involve?
According to studies, there are two ways to collect rainwater: collecting runoff and collecting rainwater from rooftops. Both systems can be adopted by farmers.
Science Direct defines the term “water harvesting” as the collection of runoff generated by rainstorms from a particular area (a watershed) for the purpose of providing water for human use, animal or agricultural. The collected water can either be used immediately or stored in aboveground ponds or underground reservoirs, for future use. Because the water is clean, it rarely needs to be purified or filtered.
According to ecomena.org/rainwater-harvesting/, rainwater typically runs off the roofs of buildings. Water can be collected in large reservoirs like cisterns or using tarpaulins and is then stored in containers until needed. Water can also be collected in dams and reservoirs for long-term community use.
What are the benefits?
Collected water can significantly reduce our dependence on tapping into the water tables, which are scarce. At the household level, collecting and storing water can help reduce costly monthly water bills. Harvested water is inexpensive and contains no chemicals if found in open natural areas.
For farmers, it is excellent for irrigation. The collected water is free of chemicals, making it a great alternative for irrigation. Reports show that it also decreases soil erosion and reduces flooding by reducing runoff during heavy rains.
To set it up, all you need is a collection system, storage tanks, and a simple pipe or faucet system to use the water. An easy way to collect rainwater is to use the roof gutters and direct the runoff to your storage tank. More and more homeowners are exploiting this and now ensure that gutters are considered in the design of the house. For those who wish to take personal action against climate change, using collected rainwater is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. So go ahead and give it a try!
[Hellen Miseda, [emailÂ protected]]
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