Today we fitted rainwater collection tanks onto the constructed platforms and the collected rainwater flowed! We’d love to do this in other places in Kenya.
One rainwater collection tank had been bought and another was being recycled. This one was without a lid and full of rain. Unfortunately, because of the lack of lid, the water was rotten and smelly. With a group of the children we tipped it over and poured the smelly water away. Godfrey bravely got inside and cleaned it out and later Joy got in and bleached and rinsed it so it would be safe to use for drinking water*.
The other, new collection tank was larger and didn’t need cleaning but still needed a tap fitting.
Hattie and Joy fitted taps to both tanks and got them in position. This sounds simple enough, but to do it the metal outlet pipe had to be heated so that it could be used to melt a hole the perfect size in the side of the tank. The fire had to be portable, so it could be near enough to the tank for the pipe to remain hot enough to melt the plastic. The ingenious solution was to make the fire in a wheelbarrow so it was easy to get into position. All tools here in Kenya seem to be multi-purpose!
The new tank on the gabion baskets was easiest. Hattie and Joy connected this one to pipes from the original broken rainwater harvesting system. One of the problems with these pipes is that they had not been properly welded together. As she’s showing Joy how to do everything necessary to teach others how to replicate this system elsewhere, Hattie also showed her how to fix the pipes using solvent weld.
When we checked, the platform was completely level; Result!
The smaller recycled tank was positioned just outside the kitchen door, under the smallest of the roofs. Again, the pipes had to be properly welded together to prevent them coming apart, leaking and falling down in general. A hopper was fitted to the pipe near the doorway to gather the water and bring it down into the collection tank.
By the following morning, in spite of only a small amount of rain overnight, when we turned the tap, clean rainwater flowed out.
Two rainwater harvesting collection tanks now working!
*All drinking water is boiled here and the bought water is just water pumped from the river, so our intention is that if enough rainwater can be collected during the rainy season (shouldn’t be a problem, one of the reasons the original rainwater harvesting broke was that there was too much water!), it can be used for drinking if necessary as it will be being used almost immediately and can be boiled. Then in the dry season the full tanks can be used to water the gardens while bought water is only used for indoor use.
One of Hattie’s ideas is to implement the collection of rainwater for the in-the-roof tanks that supply the showers, toilets and basins will would save massive amounts of water.