Rainwater Harvesting - A sustainable solution

With growing pressure on water resources, universal access to drinking water and sustainable water management represent major challenges to our societies. Rainwater is a resource that can be harvested with minimal environmental impact, to ensure the human right to water is fulfilled.


Respecting the water resource

The development of industrialized countries and this need to ensure water needs of populations and of the economy, was designed on a short-term logic, disregarding balances and ecosystems, using brutal extractive logics with often little consideration of long-term impacts. This approach widespread and it is often found in developing countries and even in non-governmental organisations or development aid projects. Harvesting this resource at any cost has serious consequences on aquifers and creates long-term vulnerabilities for future generations.


Rainwater and the Challenge of Universal Access to Safe Drinking Water

The strategic management of rainwater offers an innovative and effective response when communities are faced with water scarcity, droughts or floods (IPCC, 2014). Depending on geographic context and local water demands, rainwater can be used as a drinking water resource to cover the daily needs of families, 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.
Rainwater is a free resource that can play a key role, with low environmental impact, in achieving the human right to reliable access to drinking water.

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 and the Challenge of Food Security

Water resources are modified by variations in land use, temperature and precipitation. Population growth, urbanization, 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.

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Water: The Burden of Women and Girls

In many countries where we work, women and girls bear the responsibility of collecting water (30 - 50 liters per day), to meet their families daily needs.
This requires women to rise early and walk to a local spring, well, or river, located on average 2 - 3 km from their homes. They must then fill 15 - 20 l cans, travelling back and forth to collect the required volume of water.
This chore can lead women and girls to suffer from headaches, back pain, and fatigue, which often results in girl's dropping out of school, and women's social isolation.
Thus, women lose productive time, which could be used to develop an income-generating activity, for their education and caring for their children. Additionally, when collecting water, women are at risk of injury, and seeking water before sunrise exposes them to greater risk of sexual assault. Often, without the ability to influence community-level decisions, such women cannot change the management and planning of community infrastructure.

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Rainwater and United Nations Develooment Agenda 2030

The optimization of rainwater (which to date is not managed strategically) is an efficient and innovative response to address the challenges of water scarcity, droughts and floods and strengthen the resilience of communities and communities. ecosystems, natural disasters and climate change.
Rainwater management addresses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 13 and 17). We implement these goals through international development projects, by supporting local municipalities and local authorities, and through projects that raise local awareness of the socio-environmental benefits of rainwater harvesting.


Why Rainwater Harvesting (@ruvival)


Our projects

The Blue Schools

This program aims to educate school children to the management of water, sanitation and good hygiene practices, but also the recovery of waste to make blue schools, incubators of social change "

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> Discover the initiative "one child, a tree"


Rain, Forest and People

Climate change requires us to rethink our management methods and practices. This project aims to build community resilience by combining better management of water resources, trees and soil.

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Rain Community

Changes in rainfall patterns in the mid-hillls of Nepal disrupting the subsistence agriculture. The project aims to implement better water resource management at the watershed level to promote water infiltration.

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Emergency Rain

The "Emergency Rain" project aims to provide access to clean water and restore dignity for those who have nothing, the forgotten from water services, who live on the outskirts of our cities and have to fight every day to access even water for drinking.

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Workshops: Water and the City

The objective of this workshop is to bring school children to become aware of their environment, and to be able to implement durable, sustainable solutions in their city.

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Workshop: in the rain ink

The aim of this "In the rain ink" project is to transform the representations of rainwater seen as a nuisance, poetically using the urban environment in which we live.

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> See Trailer



International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA)

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

T: +41 22 797 41 57
E: secretariat@irha-h2o.org

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