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Rainwater low-cost collection system (Africa)

I use the gradient of your roof, any water collector of choice and some minimal plumbing. What am I? 
If like me you are lucky to live in the tropics where the sky literally empties down nearly half the year then you should consider installing a water collection system. It is simple, straightforward and easy to install There are different kinds, types, and shapes. But the one I will talk you through was installed in under an hour; from the market to the marked spot outside the building. 

If you think water is an infinite resource, you might want to have a rethink. In 2018, Capetowners woke up to a harsh reality where their city was staring down the barrel(an empty one).
Cuts had to be made, and everyone chipped in to avoid ground zero; a situation of doom where the city's water supplies would have been turned off. 

My city Abuja lies a mere 627 miles (1008km) of the equator and so it can be very hot, humid and wet here. Here are the steps to setting-up my water collection.

1; The hunt for wide October. Get a water barrel. the larger the barrel, the more water you can save. It is important, also to get a durable water collector to withstand the force of nature such as heat, humidity and the dry conditions that vary all year round. For less than 5K, you can get a mid-sized durable water barrel.
From my calculations, the median yearly rainfall for the city is 12.5mm with July and August topping well over 250mm. For the water barrel, I did not quite have a size in mind but I wanted the biggest volume I could lay my hands on. In the end, we took home a GeePee 200L.

 2; boreholes, buy accessories, fit

 The water collector to function effectively required three holes; bottom where the spigot would fit, the neck of the drum as a pathway for outflow when the drum was full, a triangular cut on the cover for the inflow of rainwater. Using a tong heated to a high degree of temperature, the plumber pierced the two holes at the neck of the barrel. X shows one part of the hole in the image below 

Next, a metal tube that measured a little less in diameter went in at the spot where the spigot would be located. Finally, a saw was used to cut the top of the drum wherein the water will flow in. all this took about 20 minutes to accomplish. 

We purchased a caulk, back nut, washer, PVC compression, and plumbing tape to finish the connection and void backflow and dripping from the system. 

Tips; buy the metallic spigot and not the thermoplastic cheaper ones for longer-lasting use.
ensure to bore the holes at the correct angle for where the spigot would go in. Everyone has their sweet spot but you probably should aim one and a half inches from the bottom of the barrel to easily fit in buckets and hose.
Prevent sand, stones, and insects getting into your barrel by fitting it with a net at the top tightened with an appropriate twine. Elevate your barrel by placing on concrete blocks or wooden pallets. For mine, I used two 6" blocks. Wash the drum thoroughly before usage. The home I was setting up the rain collection system was topped with a cross hipped roof. I found it best to set up the collector after the first rains; which finally happened on a weekend in the month of April, it is then easier to see where the best location and slope on the roof beneath which to set the water collector. 
If you have a rain gutter on your roof- connecting to the barrel is easy, cut off some of the downspouts and let the water run into your drum. The water collected can serve gardening and washing needs but not for drinking. In the dry season, upturn your water collection system to prevent it from becoming a breeding home for mosquitoes and other bugs.

Total cost (8,700 naira)
200l water barrel- 3000
spigot, washer, PVC compression- 1500
caulk and plumbing tape- 2000
2-yard net- 1200


95% of the world population live under conditions in which their air quality index is below par according to the Health Effects Institute based in Boston, USA. This is not good news by any stretch but we can all play a role to reduce this. Grow an indoor plant- to absorb harmful in house pollution and plant a tree outdoor. These do more than provide shade, they also absorb carbon, particulate matter and ozone while helping with air quality through evapotranspiration. Common species that work indoors effectively are spider plant, variegated snake plant, peace lily, bamboo palm.


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