American Society of Civil Engineers


Domestic Rainwater Harvesting Assessment to Improve Water Supply and Health in Africa’s Urban Slums


by J. R. Cowden, (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295 E-mail: jrcowden@mtu.edu), J. R. Mihelcic, (Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295 E-mail: jm41@mtu.edu), and D. W. Watkins, (Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295 E-mail: dwatkins@mtu.edu)
Section: Global Perspectives and Issues, pp. 1-10, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/40856(200)369)

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2006: Examining the Confluence of Environmental and Water Concerns
Abstract: More than 50% of Africa’s population will reside in cities by 2030, and hundreds of millions of those people will live in poverty conditions known as urban slums. In 2000, 14% of the Africa’s urban population lacked access to improved water, which is one of the five criteria defining a slum household. This lack of access in urban slums is due primarily to inadequate service provision due to governments’ inability or unwillingness to provide water to these often illegal settlements. Domestic rainwater harvesting is potentially a simple and cost-effective solution to providing improved water to African urban slums. This paper uses GIS analysis to determine which African urban areas may benefit from rainwater harvesting technology under various scenarios. Maps are produced for use by slum communities, local agencies, and non-governmental organizations to assist in preliminary assessment of rainwater harvesting technology implementation. The assessment reveals a potential 68% of urban slum dwellers able to obtain at least three months of daily 20/L/capita water supply and 23% of slum dwellers able to obtain at least three months 50/L/capita water supply using rainwater harvesting technology.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Rainfall
Residential location
Water supply
Urban areas
Africa