Making Rainwater Harvesting a Key Solution for Water Management: The Universality of the Kilimanjaro Concept
Mwamila, Tulinave Burton
MetadataShow full item record
Rainwater is conventionally perceived as an alternative drinking water source, mostly needed to meet water demand under particular circumstances, including under semi-arid conditions and on small islands. More recently, rainwater has been identified as a potential source of clean drinking water in cases where groundwater sources contain high concentrations of toxic geogenic contaminants. Specifically, this approach motivated the introduction of the Kilimanjaro Concept (KC) to supply fluoride-free water to the population of the East African Rift Valley (EARV). Clean harvested rainwater can either be used directly as a source of drinking water or blended with polluted natural water to meet drinking water guidelines. Current e orts towards the implementation of the KC in the EARV are demonstrating that harvesting rainwater is a potential universal solution to cover ever-increasing water demands while limiting adverse environmental impacts such as groundwater depletion and flooding. Indeed, all surface and subsurface water resources are replenished by precipitation (dew, hail, rain, and snow), with rainfall being the main source and major component of the hydrological cycle. Thus, rainwater harvesting systems entailing carefully harvesting, storing, and transporting rainwater are suitable solutions for water supply as long as rain falls on earth. Besides its direct use, rainwater can be infiltrating into the subsurface when and where it falls, thereby increasing aquifer recharge while minimizing soil erosion and limiting floods. The present paper presents an extension of the original KC by incorporating Chinese experience to demonstrate the universal applicability of the KC for water management, including the provision of clean water for decentralized communities.