Geneva’s Rainwater Harvesters

by Rachel Nisbet | 30 September 2019
Image Geneva’s Rainwater Harvesters

There are many private and cooperative rainwater harvesting initiatives in the Geneva region. While sharing information about rainwater harvesting at the 5th Alternatiba Léman Festival, in the city’s Parc des Bastions, we exchanged with local advocates of rainwater harvesting. We learnt about the collective and cooperative, Le Terroir, who harvest rain for watering their organic, market garden. They sell their produce in Présilly on Tuesday evenings.

We chatted with a local inhabitant, Sylvie, who regrets not having installed a double water system when her house was built thirty years ago. She wanted to install one plumbing circuit for harvested rainwater, to be used for bathing and washing clothes, and another plumbing circuit for drinking water. But friends discouraged her, as piped water was so cheap in France. Now, with increasing water scarcity, she thinks the cost of water should be calculated differently, so it is better valued as a vital resource for life that needs to be conserved.

We also spoke to Nathalie La Fleur from Mauritius (pictured), who also lives in the Geneva region. Mauritius’s potable water supply derives from boreholes, reservoirs and rivers. But Nathalie explained that her family and wider community, living in Terre Rouge, used to collect rainwater for domestic purposes. As the area surrounding Geneva has hard water, Nathalie still prefers to collect rainwater for washing her hair and rinsing her face. Soft rainwater makes your hair shine beautifully! Nathalie’s beauty regime involves a quick dash up to her roof, to position buckets and salad bowls when the sky looks heavy. After a downpour, she filters the water she has collected through a piece of cloth, then adds a drop of colloidal silver to it. Because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, she finds this treatment prevents her water from becoming mouldy. Note: water treated in this manner must not be consumed internally. But, as this photo of Nathalie shows, rinsing your locks with rainwater can guarantee a good hair day.

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International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA)

International Environment House 2
Chemin de Balexert, 9
1219 Châtelaine, Geneva CH

T: +41 22 797 41 57

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Account: 17-198970-3
IBAN: CH15 0900 0000 1719 8970 3