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EU INCO-DEV IC18980276: Domestic Roofwater Harvesting in the Humid Tropics

August 1998 - June 2001

The Domestic Roofwater Harvesting in the Humid Tropics project was a 3 year research funded by the European Commission. It was carried out by an international consortium known as the Roofwater Harvesting Research Group.

There are four partners:

Development Technology Unit

School of Engineering,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

Tel: +44 24 7652 2339
Fax: +44 24 7641 8922

Contact: Mr Brett Martinson



Kanalstr. 23
Weikersheim 97990

Tel: +49 7934 990030
Fax +49 7934 990031

Contact: Mr Hans Hartung


Indian Institute of Technology: Delhi

Centre for Rural Development and Appropriate Technology (RDAT)
New Delhi 110016.

Tel: +91 11 6861977 (Ext. 3135/4033)
Fax: +91 11 6862037

Contact: Professor Padma Vasudevan


Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum 

239, High Level Road
Colombo 5
Sri Lanka

Tel: +94 75 524612/3
Fax: +94 1 853053

Contact: Ms. Tanuja Ariyananda

Objectives and goals

The aim of the project is to generate reliable information about domestic roofwater harvesting (DRWH) for water policy planners, supply professionals and, ultimately, householders. The programme will examine literature and practice from many parts of the world, but it is expected that those from humid tropical areas (the focus of the programme) will be of most use, since Domestic Rainwater Harvesting technology and economics are dominated by factors like climate and culture. Thus, S.Asia and E.Africa have been selected as they are particularly favourable to this technology. Links are also being developed with practitioners in Central America where climatic conditions are locally similar.

The partners have complementary skills in laboratory science, technology choice, participatory field studies, water practice and behavioural science. All four partners have historical links with water users, normally but not always mediated by local non-governmental organisations. The Water Security Task will entail considerable observation of the values, needs and practices of both communities and individual water users through the methodology of participative rural surveys. One of the Partners - the Lanka RWH Forum is itself a consortium of water providers and water users. Only one of the four Tasks will concentrate specifically upon water providers rather than water users.

The Projects comprises the assessment of existing knowledge and the generation of new knowledge on four critical and strongly interacting aspects of DRWH, namely: technology, health implications, impact on domestic water security and compatibility with institutional value systems; in consequence there are four Tasks. Each partner will participate in either 2 or 3 of these Tasks, each of which will be under the leadership of a different partner. The Tasks are as follows:

Task A: Development of lower cost water storage

The development of low-cost storage techniques will be led by Warwick University and start with the rigorous evaluation of selected existing designs of water tanks (capacities 1500 to 15000 l). New methods of constructing below ground, surface and architecturally integrated tanks using minimum or new materials will be researched, laboratory tested and subjected to field trials in both regions. The economic objective is to reduce the capital cost per household of adequate DRWH storage to levels affordable to the masses.

Task B: Institutional values and decision making

The identification of organisational attitudes, knowledge and knowledge needs will be led by FAKT. Building upon the substantial existing knowledge of the partners and their water industry networks, this Task will employ structured interviews and the analysis of past decisions to measure these attitudes and needs.

Task C: Health implications of widespread use of DRWH

The identification of the health implications of widespread take-up of DRWH of various designs, led by IITD, to include the initial identification of health concerns under Task B. The objective of Task C is to identify the influence of different component and system designs on water pathogen content, and to identify ways of preventing the breeding of insect vectors in stored water. The methodology will employ the survey of the very scattered and uneven literature about LDC water quality, the interpretation of entomological knowledge into storage design rules, the performance of extensive field tests and some laboratory tests.

Task D: DRWH and water security

The study of the implications of DRWH upon water security, led by the Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum, will explore the issue at three levels (householder, local community and region). At the householder level, the relationship between system parameters (like consumption rates, storage volume, climate) and potential water security will be modelled. At both householder and community levels the use (and often decline) of indigenous security strategies will be field surveyed and new strategies assessed. At the wider geographical level the potential contribution of DRWH to both rural and urban water security in the zone will be modelled, discussed with policy makers and recommendations developed concerning the best mix of DRWH with other supply

Project Reports



Current Technology for Storing Domestic Rainwater

(Jan 1999)

(PDF Document) Full Document (55pp, 630kb)

Research into single skin, externally reinforced, brick tanks and low-cost, thin-shell, ferrocement tank cover

(April 1999)

(PDF Document) Full Document (45pp, 1.1Mb)

Stabilised Soil Tanks for Rainwater Storage

(September 2000)

(PDF Document) Full Document (51pp, 900kb)

Recommendations for designing Rainwater harvesting system tanks

(January 2001)

(PDF Document) Full Document (36pp, 620kb)



Attitudes towards Rainwater Harvesting

(January 1999)

(PDF Document) Full Document (8pp, 47kb)

Domestic Rainwater Harvesting: Perceptions of Water Professionals and the way forward

(April 1999)

(PDF Document) Full Document (8pp, 30kb)

The inclusion of domestic roofwater harvesting in a national water legislation framework

(July 2001)

(PDF Document) Full Document (31pp, 150kb)



DRWH Water Quality: A Literature Review

(May 1999)

(PDF Document) Full Document (70pp, 770kb)

DRWH and Insect Vectors: A Literature Review

(August 1999)

(PDF Document) Full Document (18pp, 150kb)

Water Quality In Domestic Roof Water Harvesting Systems

(September 2000)

(PDF Document) Full Document (39pp, 190kb)

DRWH Design & Insect Breeding

(March 2001)

(PDF Document) Full Document (17pp, 90kb)


Water Security

Household Water Security in Sri Lanka Using Domestic Roof Water Harvesting

(December 1998)

(PDF Document) Full Document (35pp, 160kb)

Concept Of Water Security Entailing Domestic Roof Water Harvesting

(September 1999)

(PDF Document) Full Document (40pp, 200kb)

Current Rural Water Security Practices with DRWH

(March 2000)

(PDF Document) Full Document (40pp, 180kb)

Household strategies for operating total and partial drwh to achieve water security under stress conditions recommended practices

(December 2000)

(PDF Document) Full Document (23pp, 300kb)

Domestic roof water harvesting and water security in the humid tropics

(June 2001)

(PDF Document) Full Document (43pp, 260kb)