Rainwater Harvesting Projects in Ethiopia

In 2008, SOS Malta took the decision to expand its rainwater harvesting projects to Africa. It will be doing this primarily in Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Rainwater Harvesting Association. SOS Malta has attained funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Malta) to facilitate a find-out mission to Ethiopia by SOS Malta staff members, due to take place in 2009.

Rainwater harvesting used to be practiced for a long time in Ethiopia. However, due to the use of modern technologies, this traditional practice had been almost forgotten. The recent revival of RWH has been triggered by problems such as overexploitation and dropping groundwater levels, caused by modern water supply technologies. Unfortunately, some RWH programmes in Ethiopia have suffered from problems such as lack of training and local ownership.

SOS Malta has noted that roof water harvesting from schools, churches and individual houses with corrugated roof are being tried in Ethiopia and with success. Roof rainwater harvesting provides adequate water during the rainy season, a period when the rural people are busy with the farm activities and when there is shortage of labor with in short distance.

It has also noted that other forms of rain-water harvesting are being used in Ethiopia - such as surface run-off systems, sand dams, and underground reinforced cement tanks.

SOS Malta is planning the set-up of rainwater-harvesting projects, using either of these techniques, in at least two villages set in rural areas in Ethiopia. The aim is to involve the villagers in the implementation of the projects, thus securing their sense of ownership and the projects' sustainability.

These projects are being seen as addressing water-related needs while facilitating an entry point to community development in identified villages.