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Domestic Rainwater Harvesting Learning and Pilot

A five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allow EnterpriseWorks/VITA (EWV) to analyze domestic rainwater harvesting systems throughout the world, conduct research to reduce the costs of water storage units, and develop and test a market-based approach for the introduction of domestic rainwater harvesting systems to provide drinkable water to areas in need.

EWV will first embark on a year-long, 20-country study of past usages of rainwater harvesting and current technological innovations. This research period will allow EWV to learn more about the market’s needs, and design a product to adequately meet them. During the second phase of the project, EWV will implement a pilot project to produce and market a prototype system in a selected region.

Rainwater harvesting could be a solution for some of the 1.1 billion people who do not have access to water for drinking and cooking. The term refers to the “harvesting” of rain by collecting its runoff from a structure, and storing it in above or below-ground vessels. It provides good quality water in close proximity to a household, and eliminates the need for costly distribution systems to remote areas.

Although the potential of rainwater harvesting has always been apparent, the technology has failed to gain popularity. Less than 1% of the world’s population takes full advantage of the technique. EnterpriseWorks plans to design an affordable system appropriate for low-income areas that lack access to drinkable water, and to assess the degree to which a market based approach to domestic rainwater harvesting will facilitate access for those in need.

Download the full press release.