Rainwater Catchments: A Solution to Water Scarcity

by Friends of Burkina Faso (FBF)
Vetted

GLOBAL GIVING REPORT MARCH 2015: RAINWATER CATCHMENTS

“We Are Dancing With Joy!” Says Mariam R, a 59 year old grandmother in Sisene.  “We worked hard to build our basin six years ago and now have a little help to maintain it properly.  The engineer has met with us for the last three months and he now has developed a design to make our basin stronger. So we are dancing to celebrate strengthening the basin before the rains come.”  She continues: “Please thank your friends that are sending money.  They are wonderful. We wish them well and invite them to come visit us and see our success. They can stay with us and we can all dance together to celebrate.” After construction of this first rainwater catchment basin in Sisene, water was available every day of the year.  Gardening began being practiced on a large scale and has become permanent. Animal husbandry, fishing, development of small businesses, markets three times each week are now standard. Over 700 girls and boys are attending school in Sisene, more than double the number attending before the catchment basin was built!  Girls attend school because they no longer have to walk three hours a day to find water for their families.  This is the success we are replicating.

Community Building Group – West Africa (CBG-WA) is a registered NGO in Burkina Faso.  Just over one year ago, our Give Water Give Life program to build rainwater catchment basins began raising funds through GlobalGiving with the assistance of Friends of Burkina Faso.  It has been a terrific relationship.  On March 12, 2015, we reached our initial goal of $35,000 thanks to the generous support of you, our 1,240 GlobalGiving donors! Now please join us in ‘dancing with joy’.

Self-Help Enables Villagers. Over the last 5 months, we developed a partnership with Florida International University WA-WASH, a water and sanitation program for villages in Burkina Faso and Niger. The WA-WASH program provides services in sanitation, building latrines, and hygiene – all services that are complementary to our rainwater catchment basins program.   Field visits by the GWGL team have generated information about family structure, education, health, and economic activities in villages wanting a new rainwater catchment basin.  Data is also being collected on physical and institutional terrain and structures; farming methods; and GPS coordinates in order to effectively use satellite imagery. Villagers speak about their individual needs with respect to water and how they are truly ready and willing to work to have a new basin. One hundred fifty villages work with the WA-WASH program in Burkina Faso.  GWGL is analyzing the data, interviewing villagers, and determining how many of them might qualify to have a new rainwater catchment basin.

CBG-WA is building rainwater catchment basins in villages throughout Burkina Faso as fast as we have sufficient funds. A new rainwater catchment basin serving 2,000 village residents costs less than $50 per person.  Having water year round is critically important to the health and well-being of every resident in every village.  Global Giving makes it easy to donate and to share, providing great benefit to the villagers of Burkina Faso.

VILLAGE OF KAMSI.  The residents of Kamsi continue to meet with GWGL staff seeking guidance to build a new rainwater catchment basin in their village.  Seeing the success in Sisene has them eager to start building now.  According to the President of the Kamsi Community Association, his village once had an adequate water supply. However, there has been very little water for more than the last 10 years.  A rainwater catchment basin is sorely needed in Kamsi. The leader of the Women’s Agriculture Cooperative, speaking on behalf of her group, states: “If you help us build a basin, there will be a complete change.  There will be no labor out-migration and there will be many improvements.” 

An entire agriculturally based village can become healthier and economically self-sufficient through sustainable community development that a single rainwater catchment basin makes possible.  Give Water Give Life (GWGL) Project has a fine tuned product that requires each basin designed: meet local conditions; include local villagers’ leadership and participation; have a clay-based porosity lining (to restore the water aquifer and help raise the water table); have an emergency spillway; include solar-powered irrigation system, solar-powered filtration system, satellite imagery for optimum location placement; and data collection on overall health and nutrition. 

Global Giving donors are making it possible to build a basin in Kamsi. GWGL aims to construct this second basin in 2015.  Your suggestions on how to make the positive impacts of a rainwater catchment basin better understood will help attract more donors and investors. As a donor yourself, please tell us what attracted you to our program and what your interests are. (You may contact me at kmcdonald@givewatergivelife.org.) Please, your continued help is very much appreciated and your ideas are always welcome. 

Mariam R, 59 year old Grandmother in Sisene
Mariam R, 59 year old Grandmother in Sisene
Field Work GWGL Team Leader
Field Work GWGL Team Leader
Community Meeting - Village of Kamsi
Community Meeting - Village of Kamsi
Farming crops with rainwater catchment basin
Farming crops with rainwater catchment basin

Attachments:
School boy in his new garden in Sisene
School boy in his new garden in Sisene

The Friends of Burkina Faso (FBF)/ Give Water Give Life (GWGL) Program - Rainwater Catchments: A Solution To Water Scarcity continues to advance its leadership role to increase the supply of water in the African Sahel.  Support from Global Giving donors enables our FBF/GWGL Project using the latest technology to make it possible for rural villagers to have a continuous supply of water effectuating economic development.

GWGL is pleased to announce formation of a partnership with WA-WASH, a non-profit organization affiliated with Florida International University, currently funded by USAID, and based in Ouagadougou.  WA-WASH provides villages services in water pumps, sanitation and hygiene - all benefits complementary to GWGL's program.  Give Water Give Life has our first employee, a Burkinabe engineer, as our Program Coordinator in Burkina Faso, and we are renting office space in the WA-WASH headquarters.  In addition, a team of local engineers has been organized to assist with the creation of  SaRP - a Sahel-led Resilient Prototype of village rainwater catchment basin.

Two tasks are underway.  The first priority for the use of accumulated GlobalGiving funds is to repair the basin built by GWGL in 2008 in the village of Sisene.  In 2012, a portion of this basin collapsed at one end due to strong storms.  The basin should have had an emergency spillway, known as a weir, that would have controlled water flow during heavy rains. Sisene residents tried to patch the breach in 2013, but they were not successul.  Currently, Burkina engineers are developing a plan to construct the weir and repair the damaged basin.  After obtaining estimates from several contractors, one will be chosen to implement construction.  Villagers participate directly in the selection process and the work.  Work is to be completed before the next rainy season, which wil begin in June 2015.

Second is the design of the prototype village rainwater catchment basin (SaRP). The prototype includes in its design: a weir (emergency spillway); use of satellite imagery technology to determine the most appropriate field location of the basin; technology to maximize water yse; deternination of the correct porosity needed to help restore the water aquifer; an irrigation system; a water filtration system; and a solar/wind system to generate power.  Applied research methods and alternative engineering and agricultural technologies are being analyzed to determine the best design of the "prototype" village rainwater catchment basin.  Both the rain collection basin in Sisene and the concrete bouli (pond) in the village of Djonga are included in the study.  Partners in the design process include the villagers; local engineers; representatives from the National Institute of Agricultural Research in Burkina Faso (INERA); the Burkina Faso Departments of Agriculture and Water; private solar engineering and water irrigation companies; university graduate students; and individuals. GWGL is convinced that collaboration among our partners is key to the creation of high impact solutions..

In October, a GWGL team member spoke about SaRP village rainwater catchment basins with technology at the UN Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa held in Marrakesh, Morocco.  Many attendees from other African countries expressed interest in village rainwater catchment basins for their own villages.  There is strong interest in the Give Water Give Life program due to the positive effects it has to improve the availability of water.  Researchers and practitioners at the Conference also affirmed the need to have contributions of villagers in the program.  Pressure to advance development of the prototype village rainwater catchment basin is building.

During visits with the INERA representatives and the village farmers in the village of Djonga, located in the northern desert area of Dori, we had extensive discussions about the appropriate design of the prototype basin.  The assistant director and water engineer with INERA enthusiasticaly stated:  "This is INNOVATION!  The technology you can bring us is innovation! We can now create rainwater catchment basins that will not only hold water year-round, but that are resilient and can be sustained by the villagers themselves.  I am working now for over 30 years as a water engineer in rural villages in Burkina and I know that this is exactly what we need!"

Thank you so much GlobalGiving partners!  Your support is critically important.

GWGL Burkina Faso Team Members
GWGL Burkina Faso Team Members
Sisene brothers on repair that is insufficient
Sisene brothers on repair that is insufficient
Gardener in village of Djonga
Gardener in village of Djonga
INERA PhD and Farmer in desert village
INERA PhD and Farmer in desert village
Sisene Elder so appreciative of water support
Sisene Elder so appreciative of water support
3 Sisene Brothers Ready to Help Add a Spillway
3 Sisene Brothers Ready to Help Add a Spillway

GLOBALGIVING SEPTEMBER 2014:  RAINWATER CATCHMENTS

“Our Leadership Is Needed, So We Are Ready”   - By Kathleen McDonald – Project Helper

“With guidance from our own Solange, we women organized, talked, decided, and built a new rainwater catchment basin here in Sisene.” says Margarite, mother of a boy and a girl, and herself 34 years old. “That was in 2008 and we have had water each day since. The water saved our village and keeps us working. Both my children attend school. Most of our men returned from other countries because they can now work here. Our neighbors from other villages are asking us to help them have new rainwater basins. We have done well and our leadership is needed, so we are ready to help others do the same.”   The demand remains high from many villages in Burkina Faso to have water throughout the year. 

The village rainwater catchment basin in Sisene demonstrates an effective way to create a sustainable community, curb out-migration, promote girls’ education by removing the burden of searching for water, and empower farmers' productive ability.  To meet the demand, Give Water Give Life (GWGL) is designing a prototype Village Rainwater Catchment Basin that can be replicated throughout the country.

Give Water Give Life Team Members

Developing a prototype rainwater catchment basin requires local non-governmental organizations, communities, village leaders, engineers, graduate students, private manufacturers, farmers, agriculture experts from government, and other professionals.  The participation of the villagers in the creation of the rainwater catchment basin is a very important component to its success and long life. To improve sustainability, the prototype must include: emergency spillway, satellite imagery, and other technologies to determine suitable topography, locations, and porosity; and solar/wind powered micro irrigation and water filtration systems. Residents of the village of Sisene offer their input based on their direct experience. Our GWGL program director is a PhD in water and agricultural engineering, a citizen of Burkina Faso, and is directing the GWGL program and the prototype design.  Team members are determining roles and timelines.  A general meeting in October will solidify both.   

Adding A Spillway

The rainwater catchment basin built in Sisene faltered at one end due to strong storms in 2012.  After the fact, we learned that this basin should have had an emergency spillway, known as a weir, in order to control water flow properly.  Sisene residents tried to repair the basin in 2013, but it has been insufficient.  Give Water Give Life is now hiring an engineer to design the necessary weir.  The rainy season will end October 2014 and a contractor will be hired to construct, with labor provided by residents of Sisene, the engineered weir. Adding a spillway to the existing Sisene rainwater catchment basin will be completed before the next rainy season begins in June 2015.

Public Private Partnership

Private design and manufacturing companies in the United States are working with GWGL to create solar powered water filtration and solar powered water irrigation systems to be included when future village rainwater catchment basins are constructed. We envision that the existing Sisene basin and the rainwater “bouli” (pond) in the village of Djoiuga (northern Burkina Faso) will be retrofitted with new irrigation and filtration systems next year. These will serve as ground tests of the solar powered micro irrigation and water filtration technologies. The prototype rainwater catchment basin is being engineered to incorporate the factors needed for efficiency and productivity in the extremely harsh climes of Burkina Faso.

Once the rainwater catchment prototype is completed, the plan is to construct 3 or 4 new RCBs in 2015 and 2016.  On-going analysis and testing will be continuously conducted to assure quality design and installation, and comprehensive understanding, use, and maintenance by residents of each village. We hope that the prototype rainwater catchment basin will then be reproduced throughout Burkina Faso.

Global Giving

In June, GWGL requested assistance from our GlobalGiving donors to improve our project through our refocus on the prototype design, implementation testing, and addition of an emergency spillway to the existing basin. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and fruitful.  We are now using the funds to help pay the costs of the creation of the prototype and the addition of a weir to the existing basin in the village of Sisene. 

Look for new updated information on our GlobalGiving page that will delineate how money is used, and whether it is for the design of the prototype, the addition of the weir to the existing Sisene rainwater catchment basin, and/or the retrofitting of the water basins in the villages of Sisene and Djoiuga. 

Again, we want to thank you Global Giving donors!  Your support is wonderful.  Any additional suggestions for improving our communication with you and other potential supporters and any comments about our work are truly encouraged.  “Zod noogo!”, which is a Moore expression (one of the main languages of Burkina Faso), that translates to “the productive fruits of friendship”.

Farmers Discussing Strategy for New Weir in Sisene
Farmers Discussing Strategy for New Weir in Sisene
GWGL Team Listening to Villagers Wanting RCBasin
GWGL Team Listening to Villagers Wanting RCBasin
Partner Engineers Deciding on Prototype Design
Partner Engineers Deciding on Prototype Design
Irrigation System NeededTo Replace Bucket Carrying
Irrigation System NeededTo Replace Bucket Carrying
Villagers Building Rainwater Catchment Basin
Villagers Building Rainwater Catchment Basin

GLOBAL GIVING REPORT JUNE 2014:  RAINWATER CATCHMENTS

“If the Women Benefit, We All Benefit”   

As Yameogo Brahima said earlier this year in the village of Ramongokamsi: “We all know the water basin will help us, particularly the women, and if the women benefit, everyone benefits.”  The demand is very high from many villages in Burkina Faso to have water throughout the year.  Rainwater catchment basins can demonstrate the most effective way to create a more sustainable community, curb out-migration, promote girls’ education by removing the burden of searching for water, and then empower farming’s productive ability.  To meet the demand, Give Water Give Life (GWGL) is producing a prototype Rainwater Catchment Basin (RCB) that can be replicated throughout the country.

Water Throughout The Year for Rural Villlages

Based on our most recent research, village visits, data and partnership activities, Give Water Give Life broadened our scope and increased our budget.  Developing a prototype RCB requires local non-governmental organizations, communities, village leaders, engineers, graduate students, private manufacturers, managers and transportation.  Our updated program includes all these and their related costs.

A well designed village rainwater catchment basin collects runoff water in a suited emplacement and topography; stores it; and makes water available year round for agriculture, economic development, and improving rural health. A rainwater catchment basin was envisioned, developed and built by residents in the village of Sisene, in central west Burkina Faso, in 2008. Success is realized by the 2,000 residents using the 6,000 cubic meters of water from their new basin – available to them every day since the initial rainfall in 2008.  With the basin water, the aquifer was restored, the water table raised, six formerly dry wells now have water, and families are healthier and able to send their children to school.

Building on this success, Give Water Give Life is developing a prototype RCB.  The participation of the villagers in the creation of the RCB is the most important ingredient to its success and long life. To improve sustainability, the prototype is being upgraded with: emergency spillway; satellite imagery processing technologies to determine suitable topography and locations; and solar/wind powered micro irrigation and water filtration systems.

“With Water Year Round, Our Daughters Can Go To School”

Give Water Give Life is raising funds for research, prototype development, installation, testing, and operations. Private, for-profit companies are working with GWGL to develop solar/wind powered water irrigation and water filtration systems to be used in Burkina Faso.  Two villages will also be used to test these products.  The existing Sisene RCB and the rainwater pond in Djoiuga (northern Burkina Faso) will be retrofitted with the new irrigation and filtration systems over the next 12 months. These will serve as ground tests of the micro irrigation and water filtration technologies. The prototype rainwater catchment basin is being engineered to incorporate the best factors needed for efficiency and productivity in the extremely harsh climes of Burkina Faso.

Once the prototype rainwater catchment infrastructure is completed, 3 or 4 new RCBs will be constructed in 2015 and 2016.  Analysis and testing will be continuously conducted to assure quality design and installation, comprehensive understanding, use, and maintenance by residents of each village. Subsequently, the new technologies will be incorporated into the prototype RCB to then be reproduced throughout Burkina Faso.

Give Water Give Life has also committed to repairing the existing Sisene RCB before the next rainy season begins in June 2015.

GlobalGiving

Last October, Give Water Give Life began fundraising with GlobalGiving.  We sought donations to build a new RCB in a second village.  Many contributions have been received through Global Giving and GWGL is continuously and truly grateful for each one.  We are requesting assistance from our donors to improve our project through our refocus on the prototype design, implementation testing, and repair of the existing basin.

At this time, the amount of money needed to build a new rainwater catchment basin is close to $100,000.  But before building another new rainwater catchment basin, we need to spend more time and money to produce the prototype. By fine-tuning the design of the prototype, we could have a less expensive RCB and also one that is more easily sustainable.  The original RCB built in Sisene has faltered at its one end and is losing precious water.  After the fact, we learned that the RCB should have had an emergency spillway in order to better control water flow after heavy rainfall.

Therefore, now each new RCB will have an emergency spillway.  Other items being incorporated into the design of the prototype include: solar/wind powered water filtration & water irrigation systems; proper porous basin linings; and use of satellite imagery, GPS, and field survey data to exactly determine RCB locations. 

We would like to use the funds to help pay the costs of the creation of the prototype and the reparation of the existing basin in the village of Sisene.  If acceptable, we will place a new list of items on our Global Giving page that will delineate how money is used, and whether it is for the design of the prototype, the repair of the existing Sisene RCB, and/or the retrofitting of the water basins in the villages of Sisene and Djoiuga.  As we proceed, we will update the amounts needed for each and all of the tasks.

Thank you Global Giving donors!  Your support is very much needed and appreciated!  Please let us know if you have any additional suggestions for improving our communication with you and other potential supporters.  Your comments about our work are also always welcome.  Thank you again.

Because of the water, I am going to school - Satsi
Because of the water, I am going to school - Satsi
Thank You and Welcome to Our Home! Ramde Famiily
Thank You and Welcome to Our Home! Ramde Famiily
Happy Father and Son in Djoiuga
Happy Father and Son in Djoiuga
Julien at Edge of Sisene RCB Needing Repairs
Julien at Edge of Sisene RCB Needing Repairs
We Had Fun At School!  Merci mille fois!
We Had Fun At School! Merci mille fois!
Four School Children
Four School Children

“We Are In School Now!” -  VILLAGE OF SISENE.

Over 700 girls and boys are attending school in Sisene, more than double the number attending before the rainwater catchment basin was built!  Girls can attend school because they must no longer walk three hours a day to find water for their families.  After construction of the rainwater catchment in Sisene, gardening began being practiced on a large scale and has become permanent. Animal husbandry, fishing, development of small businesses, markets three times each week are now standard.

A new rainwater catchment basin serving 2,000 village residents costs less than $50 per person.  Providing water year round is the key to success.  Global Giving makes it easy to donate and to share, providing great benefit to the villagers of Burkina Faso. 

Self-Help Enables Villagers

During the last quarter, field visits by the GWGL team have generated information about family structure, education, health, and economic activities in villages wanting a new rainwater catchment basin.  Data was also collected on physical and institutional terrain and structures; farming methods; and GPS coordinates for using satellite imagery. Villagers spoke about their individual needs with respect to water and how hard each one is willing to work to have a new basin. 

VILLAGE OF RAMONGOKAMSI.  Over three-hundred residents of RamongoKamsi attended January meetings to seek assistance in building a new rainwater catchment basin.  Seeing the success in Sisene has them eager to start building now.  According to the President of the Community Association, RamongoKamsi had a water retention pond built by the population itself, but the dam collapsed, and for over ten years, there has been little water.  Without water year round, life is much more difficult.  The leader of the Women’s Agriculture Cooperative spoke on behalf of her group and shared: “If you help us build a basin, there will be a complete change.  There will be no out-migration and there will be many improvements.” 

An entire agriculturally based village can become healthier and economically self-sufficient through sustainable community development that a single rainwater catchment basin makes possible.  Give Water Give Life (GWGL) Project has a fine tuned product that requires each basin designed: meet local conditions; include local villagers’ leadership and participation; clay-based (to help raise the water table); emergency spillway; solar-powered irrigation system; solar-powered filtration system; satellite imagery for optimum location placement; and data collection on overall health and nutrition. 

Global Giving donors are making it possible to build another basin.  One basin costs $85,000 which is less than $50 per person served in a village.  However, we have raised $20,000 so far.  We need your suggestions on how to make the positive impacts of a rainwater catchment basin better understood.   Should we focus on raising enough money for each of the components of the basin first?  Rather than the total costs?  Please, your help is very much needed and appreciated. 

Thank You!

Natalie Kiemtore & Daughter
Natalie Kiemtore & Daughter
RamongoKamsi Land Chief "We Work Hard Together"
RamongoKamsi Land Chief "We Work Hard Together"
RamongoKamsi Mother "With Water All Is Possible"
RamongoKamsi Mother "With Water All Is Possible"
Sisene
Sisene' Nana Kuila - "The Basin Saved Our Village"
Kamsi Boys "We
Kamsi Boys "We'll Help Build To Have Water For All
 

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Organization Information

Friends of Burkina Faso (FBF)

Location: Chester, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.friendsofburkinafaso.org/​
Project Leader:
Kathleen McDonald
Vice President
Largo, Florida United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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