Rainwater Harvesting: change someone’s life with life-long access to clean water

Many CED partners are showing interest in rainwater harvesting at present. Whilst collecting rainwater is less reliable than a good well – most parts of East Africa have a significant dry season – a tank not only lets people collect rainwater but gives them somewhere to store water from other sources during the dry season. Water stored in a clean tank remains drinkable and has none of the salts that pollute the wells in some areas.

African governments are encouraging rainwater use as municipal systems are often over-stretched and water is rationed. Rainwater usage contributes to Target 6.1 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

CED has now managed 6 training courses for people to learn to make ferrocement “pumpkin” tanks. We are keen to see new-found skills being developed and are inviting supporters to contribute to the cost of tanks since, although they are less expensive than the poorer quality plastic tanks, they nevertheless have remained unaffordable for most people. Our partners in Kagera experimented with savings groups but few people were able to save the funds required.

Having easy access to clean water means:

  • Reduction in water-borne diseases with the knock-on effect that as well as losing fewer days due to illness people spend a lot less on medicines.
  • Children no longer need to walk long distances for water, often leading to dropping out of school or being in danger of attack. Their mothers have a little free time to start a micro-business.
  • It becomes easier to grow vegetables around the home, further contributing to health.

The cost of a tank is as follows:

A 1,000 litre tank for smaller households (people can add more tanks in future) costs £75. A further £30 is required for a basic gutter to collect the water, bringing the total to £105.

A 5,000 litre tank for bigger families (with a family of 6 using 20 l/day it would last 41 days) costs £300. A further £90 pays for a good quality PVC gutter, bringing the total to £390.

A 10,000 litre tank for a church or school costs £490. The gutters add £90 to this cost, bringing the total to £580.

If you’d like to find out more about this programme, please email

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Please email our treasurer at for more details.

CED is building tanks through the Church Community Mobilization Programme in Tanzania and they are not making an administration charge (though the manager really needs a new laptop). All funds therefore go to building tanks at community level, helping rural economies as well as individuals.

Posted on 22 April 2022