Rain Water Harvesting in Uganda


Bishops’ Appeal is granting €18,571 to Fields of Life for their rain water harvesting project in three primary schools in Uganda.

Every 21 seconds a child dies from a water-borne disease worldwide. Globally it’s estimated 1 in 8 people have no access to drinking water. Fields of Life (FOL) has an objective of supplying clean water to one million people in East Africa by 2020. While the main sources of water in Uganda are ground water, subsurface water and surface water sources, some districts experiencing severe water shortage are in the dry belt. These are water stressed areas with low ground water potential and therefore it’s not possible to drill boreholes. One of the strategies of FOL is to provide clean water access in areas where geology prohibits borehole drilling.

Although the organisation has supported over 92 schools with safe water in the past, it has not been possible in some schools that lie in the dry belt. Drilling has not been possible in at least three schools- in Kiruhura, Kasese and Rakai districts respectively. With a 1,200mm annual rainfall in Uganda, RWH is the only viable option.

FOL seeks to implement a project that supports theses three schools with RWH systems. The RWH project will collect rainwater from the corrugated roofs of school classroom blocks and discharge it into the 10,000 litre plastic storage tanks. The water is filtered and leaves, twigs and other debris extracted. The tanks are erected on a concrete base and the water dispensed via tap stands located close to latrines to promote hand washing. The grant will pay for the purchase and installation of the RWH systems as well as the sanitation and hygiene training in the three schools.

The project also has a component of providing Water Filters for the three schools. Although rain water should be safe for drinking, it usually gets contaminated by dirt on the roofs and most schools find it very expensive to boil enough water for all the school users. The Water filters will provide safe drinking water in a cost effective and more environmentally sustainable manner.

The project goal is to improve health through provision of safe drinking water to approximately 1,416 pupils (726 girls, 690 boys) and teachers. Benefits will include open access to rainwater for the school, improved sanitation and hygiene awareness, water usage and preservation training practices in the school and prevention of water borne diseases. More teenage girls will attend and complete school because they will have access to water to manage menstruation.