Rainwater Harvesting - A sustainable solution

Universal access to drinking water and sustainable water management remain major social challenges. But rainwater can be harvested with minimal environmental impact, to fulfill the human right to water.


Respecting the Water Cycle

In industrialised countries, a mixture of ground- and surface-water resources are often used to meet public and industrial water needs. But this can change the hydrodynamics of ecosystems, and deplete aquifers, exposing future generations by depleting natural resources.


Rainwater, A Valuable Drinking Water Resource

Strategic management of rainwater can reduce disaster risk for communities faced with water scarcity, droughts or flood risks (IPCC, 2014). Depending on geographic context and local water demands, rainwater can be used as a domestic drinking water resource, reducing the burden on women to collect water, and significantly improving the hygiene and health of communities.

Today, 844 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.1 billion are deprived of decent toilets.
Harvesting rainwater has low environmental impact, and contributes to achieving the human right to a reliable drinking water supply.

Universal access to drinking water can ONLY be achieved by implementing the full range of water supply options. Rainwater harvesting can significantly improve the provision of drinking water in many countries, leading to savings of 32 billion dollars in health costs.


Rainwater & Food Security

Water resources are modified by variations in land use, temperature and precipitation. Population growth, urbanisation, ecosystem degradation and depletion of aquifers have negative effects on drinking water supply, biodiversity and agricultural production.

Harvesting rainwater at the catchment level, in soils, vegetation, and reservoirs offers a means of addressing domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecosystemic water needs, while promoting sustainable resource management behaviours. Cultivating landscapes as living sponges that retain water substantially relieves demand for groundwater resources. This allows aquifers to recharge.

Collecting rainwater affords a triple gain: mitigating flood risks, storing water for use during periods of drought, and optimizing the use of this resource. All three benefits increase the resilience of rural and urban communities as they adapt to the extreme weather events associated with climate change. Learn more


Water Collection Burdens Girls and Women

In many low-income countries, women and girls shoulder the responsibility of water collection (30-50 l/day), to meet their household's daily needs.
Often rising early, to walk 2-3 km to a local spring, well or river, where they fill 15-20 l cans. The daily chore of travelling back and forth to collect the required volume of water can lead to headaches, back pain and fatigue, with girls often dropping out of school. Women might better use this time to develop an income-generating activity, in adult learning or to care for their children. Moreover, women collecting water risk injury; seeking water at night exposes them to greater risk of sexual assault.

Domestic rainwater harvesting relieves women of the burden of being water carriers.


Rainwater & SDG's

Rainwater management addresses Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 13 and 17). We advance these goals through international development projects, by supporting local municipalities and local authorities, and by advocating for the socio-environmental benefits of rainwater harvesting.


Why Harvest Rainwater? (@ruvival)


Our projects

The Blue Schools

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Rain, Forest and People

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Rain Community

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Emergency Rain

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Rain Ink

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International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA)

International Environment House 2

Chemin de Balexert, 9 I 1219 Châtelaine, Geneva CH

T: +41 22 797 41 57

E: secretariat@irha-h2o.org



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