: Bank-On-Rain

Discussion Forum


By Schools for Water Posted on Tue 26 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

How much does a raintank cost on average? Will the labor be local? Will these water tanks include a filtration system?


By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Tue 26 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Katie, the tank cost is by far the greatest expense for a rainfall catchment system. If purchased new, these costs are in the fifty cents to $1 per gallon range. This is generally less expensive that drilled wells, however we try to encourage recycling suitable food-grade containers that in many cases can be obtained an no cost. Food processors often get bulk materials in plastic containers that they must pay to have recycled and are happy to donate them at no cost, if one can provide the transport.

In the proposed ablution installation in Rwanda (see "documents" in sidebar) we have incorporated into the design 250 gallon "fish totes" used on fishing vessels and in seafood processing plants. In Rwanda and eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo the United Nations has deployed the largest peace-keeping force in the world (17,000 troops) and also operates refugee camps on both sides of the border, Massive amounts of food supplies are transported to this part of the world, and many of the shipping containers are suitable for use as catchment tanks. Our proposed demonstration project at the Gashora Girls Academy will initially utilize the "fish totes" we have already collected, but also include locally acquired food containers. The students will help with the installation at the school, then hopefully return to their home villages with the knowledge to duplicate these catchment systems at home.

At the community level, water cisterns can be constucted from local building materials, but in general, significant health benefits can be realized at low cost and little or no dependance on outside labor or technology. Once a demonstration project is installed and operational, it can be duplicated by local labor utilizing local resources.

The question of filtration systems is a good one, as it leads into a discussion of what is "appropriate technology". Rainfall collected from the roof of a school or home should be free of the human pathogens found in rivers/streams responsible for dysentery. Filters require frequent changing and therefore ongoing cost. With proper installation, a simple catchment system without filtering provides a safe source of potable water that can be affordable in most village settings.

how do you identify partners

By A Single Drop Posted on Thu 28 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Hi there

Welcome to PWX! Great discussion!

I had a question about identifying partners. RWH is a tried and tested solution and its always great to learn about all the innovations around the technology. The hardware is definitely a huge component, I would like to learn more about the software? Community sensitization? Engagement? Ongoing support?

1) how you identify your communities,
2) what criteria you follow when engaging in partnerships with organizations and individuals
3) what your time commitment is working on the ground in the communities (training, implementing, sensitizing communities)
4) What is your model of sustainability after you've left?

These aspects are so useful on this forum, because its generally the community engagement and sustainability where I think we can learn the most!


how do you identify partners

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Thu 28 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Hi Gemma,

Please understand we are a new group of very dedicated individuals and do not (as I write this) have a long track record. It is the reason we are here; to have the opportunity to collaborate with those like yourself who have more experience :-)

So far potential partners and one where we are further along then the realm of potential, have come to us. Our expertise is known in the community and word gets out. By community I might add this includes the social networking community. Our goal is not to grow large and become a significant entity ourselves, but to remain small and nimble, more along the line of a consulting entity to other water focused organizations; though as consultants we are doers and are very willing & able to pick up a spade and dig a trench onsite, in a remote location. By remaining nimble we can move faster and more effectively, and fill gaps for less nimble organizations.

Our criteria for partnering are with organizations who exactly need our expertise.

I would have to postulate that our on the ground commitment will be as needed. Follow up commitment and sustainability ingredients I sincerely believe will come through value added training and mobile technology (which can include the mlearning factor) For example in the RGI project shown in our sidebar, one focus is the ablutions building, not high profile but it will add the value added training I refer to. The girls are scheduled to install this system with our Bank-On-Rain 3 directors. They will exactly know where the hand washing water comes from; rainwater from the roof, and storage in fish totes behind the building. They will see and experience the connection. They will use it everyday. Social engineering? Now the ripple effect, we plan that this grass roots solution will "ripple" out to each village, either for individual installations on the girls own houses or as a sustainable "water" related business. Our connections with micro finance can work to advantage here, and my other focus emidaASIA.com related to mobile transactional infrastructure opens whole new horizons for sustaining the ripples.

I agree " sustainable" is key and I look forward to continuing our conversation about this and meeting you in person. Your "single drop" fits right in with Bank-On-Rain " Designing a Geen Planet, One Raindrop at a Time" This is all so cool.

Rainwater as a source of potable water

By Aqua Clara International Posted on Fri 29 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Greetings from Kenya and welcome to the peer review process!

Aqua Clara has just acquired a training center in a small village in a rural community in Kenya we plan to build a demonstration rain water harvesting system at the training center. As Rajesh has said, it will be great to BoR as a resource for consultation as organization such as Aqua Clara work to expand their programs. Partnering with other organizations (such as ourselves!) with established programs that already have networks on the ground could be a valuable way for BoR to have a great impact.

My question centers around the issue of rainwater as a source of safe drinking water. I agree that the rainwater is not as contaminated by fecal pathogens as ground and surface water sources, but in my experience of testing rainwater from various types of rainwater catchment systems in Kenya, it is still not of a quality that is safe to drink. I understand that the systems that we have tested are not as sophisticated either in design or in construction as the ones that BoR is talking about, but I think some sort of treatment after harvesting will always be necessary if the rainwater is to be stored for any significant length of time. One of the myths that we often have to counteract in Kenya is that rainwater is completely safe!

Aqua Clara uses 75 liter water containers (jerrycans) for our water filters, and have found that when we order in bulk, direct from the manufacturer, that we can achieve a much lower price than available on the local market (the delivered price of our filter containers is in the $4-5 range). With rainwater harvesting in mind, we have also investigated prices for larger scale units and again have been quoted prices that are far below rural market price. It is planned that our filter entrepreneurs will be our distribution network when we introduce rain water harvesting. We have found from experience that people don't necessarily just go with a project after having been trained or seen a demonstration. As you mentioned, with people living on around $1/day some sort of loan or micro-finance initiative will be very important. Could you give more specifics and a detailed breakdown on the full cost of the system that have installed in Rwanda?

I like the idea of recycling other containers and will be interested to see how this approach goes. Transport costs are no doubt going to be a significant consideration but I think you have some good ideas.

Best wishes with the review process,

Rainwater as a source of potable water

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Fri 29 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Claire, thank you for your comments. I totally agree that harvested rainwater may have some health concerns, but the point I was trying to make was that for a household existing on $1 per day, the relative merits of simple catchment make it far superior to using untreated surface water.

The simple act of storing water is shown to improve the quality with time. If there is low organic content, baterial contamination falls dramatically as these bacteri die due to lack of nutrients and substrate on which to grow. Settlement of paticulate matter in the water also "filters" it, as bacteria collect on surfaces and settle out of the water volume

Of course it would be preferred to have a filtering system if justified by cost and a system designed to serve a training center, school, community water system and the like may be able to supoort the small increase in unit cost. Please understand that we are not against water treatment and filtration, but one of our primary missions is to address the alarming infant mortality attributed to dysentery caused by unsafe drinking water. If properly collected and stored, rainwater is relatively free of human pathegens responsible for much of the deaths during the first 3 years of a childs life. Where justified by resources, we encourage better systems and as village ecomomies improve, so might their water systems.

An ideal system for a rual setting might include a particulate filter and UV sterilization powered by a photo voltaic panel, but such a system is currently beyond the reach of many. We believe that the $10,000 to $15,000 cost of a drilled well can much more effectively be used to educate and train people to construct simple systems that will improve the health of their families. As an important additional benefit, the women and girls tasked with daily collection and transporting water can use that time/effort to the benefit of their families and community.

BOR would be very interested in becoming involved with the Aqua Clara training center, as we strongly believe that demonstation projects can maximize investment value. We would like to learn more about the training center in Kenya and perhaps we could contribute to the system design or review, if already been completed. These are the sorts of interactions that we understood to be the strength of the PWX concept.

Regarding recycling food-grade containers and transportation costs, an important consideration is the shape of the container, especially the ability to "nest" or stack, permitting many units to be transported in a given volume. The blue plastic barrels and "fish totes" shown on our website are attractive for this reason. They also have the advantage that many can be transported to a remote site in a small pickup truck.

To address cost, one of our founders is very active in social media and has located plumbing suppliers and manufacturers interested in donating product to demontration projects in the developing world. The next step is to identify organizations routinely transporting shipping containers willing to let us fill-in empty space.

This is a very stimulating process. We look forward to continuing interaction with PWX members. Thank you for your comments.

Rainwater as a source of potable water

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Fri 29 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Hi Clara,
I'd just like to respond to your first paragraph and to thank you very much for recognizing the BoR strategy of remaining small and nimble while partnering with other organizations ~ to have great impact.

Our assessment is we can be very efficient with a small expert team and very few resources. We can fund raise or joint fund raise with partners, or go the corporate sponsor route to bring in the limited resources we need to function as collaborators and /or advisers to other groups and organizations and have great impact. At present what ever our team contributes, which does not require travel to your location, we are doing to build BoR recognition as viable players in making safe drinking water available one raindrop at a time to developing regions of the planet. We would really be very interested in helping you in any way we can and I might add the internet and how we communicate today has made much collaboration so very possible without travel. Cheers to all.

Rainwater as a source of potable water

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Wed 17 Nov 2010, over 12 years ago

Hi to all,

I dont know if this is late to the game but I did want to add something. A new website for RAINBANK / Ken Blair who is one of our BoR directors. Check out www.rainbank.info/about.

Though this website was created for the American customer it gives you an idea of the type of expertise and experience RAINBANK brings to the mix. When I started mentoring Ken, Rainbank was an idea, then a name and now is a sustainable growing business. We all are very aware that an idea is just that, until we take it and we make it a reality.

Cheers to all.

Introductions and a different source of help

By Blue Planet Network Posted on Wed 27 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Hi PWX members (involved in this review) and BoR friends,

Thanks to Katie for bringing BoR to our attention.

BoR is a new org trying to get its first project in Rwanda approved.

However, after seeing your drawing and ppt, i believe there is one area the BoR team with its expertise can help. BoR could sketch out, validate, and in general be of help with rainwater catchment designs.

Our partners on the ground who have field experience can provide input on completed projects, types of materials available, types of containers, skills of people, etc.

Maybe BoR, while trying to nurture and implement its own projects, can help and collaborate and learn from existing members.

For example, Safer Future has implemented some rooftop systems with underground tanks in Sierra Leone, Pure Water for the World had proposed a RWH system in Haiti, ...

So i see your presence in PWX as potentially opening new ways of working together.


Introductions and a different source of help

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Wed 27 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Thanks Rajesh. The potential to draw upon the experience and local knowledge of other members is exactly what appeals to us about the PWX concept. As a former member of Engineers Without Borders, I have been frustrated with the structured approach EWB and many NGO's take when planning programs. There are many examples of projects gone wrong shortly after the "experts" determine them a success and return home. Sometimes this may be from attempting to apply a technological level inapproperate to the need and other times because the project may have been conceived without consideration of local customes or attitudes.

BOR is a small but dedicated group that fully realizes the greatest value we can offer communities in the African Rift Valley and elsewhere is by working together with other organizations to take advantage of lessons learned and experience at the local level. We have acquired some experience in our day jobs working on the ground in Rwanda, Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, India and elsewhere, but each village has a unique set of circumstances that must be understood and considered if a project is to be sustainable. What we hope to be our first project has been offered to a Girls Academy under construction in Rwanda. This proposed effort is internally funded by BOR and offered to the NGO establishing the school at no cost, the rainfall catchment installation to be a demonstation project constructed by the students as part of their educational experience. Although we have extensive experience designing and installing catchment systems in the US, we fully expect this project to be a learning experience for us as well as the students. The "appropriate" aspect of BOR designs include simplification of the US systems we are most familiar with to ensure they are locally sustainable in households that may have daily incomes of $1.

If accepted into the PWX, we hope to learn of teaming/partnering opportunities with other members to faciliatate our goal of education through demonstation projects promoting locally constructed and maintained sources of safe drinking water. Our secondary goal, freeing girls/women from the time consuming task of daily water collection, can be addressed by these same simple catchment systems.

I am encouraged by the dialogue resulting from the PWX application process. This may be an organization that avoids some of the mistakes made by other NGO's.

Introductions and a different source of help

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Wed 27 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

This is a wonderful format and discussion. Thank you for your consideration.

I would like to add that we are very aware of designing a water system appropriately to the available resource(s) and this means not just the initial design and installation but for the ongoing "maintenance"; which is where social engineering could and often does play a part.

In educating the participants involved in our projects it is our goal to create sustainable micro businesses.We also plan to have alliances with micro finance partners.

Having an experienced PWX support team for collaboration can really help Bank-On-Rain move to the next level much faster. I love this.

Introductions and a different source of help

By Team Blue Posted on Thu 28 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Bank on Rain's experience and expertise in "rain water harvesting" could be a very important addition to PWX. Several members in Chagrin Valley Rotary see rain water harvesting as the most easily available water source in many situations and wonder whether it is being fully explored.

Reinforcing Rajesh's comments about new ways of potentially supporting BoR, I see the local availability of shipping containers worth pursuing if you are not already doing so. Often these containers are discarded or badly applied to much lower priorities than use in capturing rain water.

In particular, have you thought about organizing a program to collect discarded shipping containers initially used to transport food products to military and civilians? The two sources that might be helpful if they are locally active are US government agencies like the Defense Logistics Agency, and the local/regional Rotary clubs.

Look forward to more dialog on either or both of these options if I can be helpful.


Introductions and a different source of help

By Bank-On-Rain Posted on Thu 28 Oct 2010, over 12 years ago

Roger, We are a very small organization to date, but one of our Board members is very interested in applying the methods of micro-financing to stimulate locals to idenify, collect and make available at reasonable cost at the village level these once-used food containers. There is already a woman in Kigali running a recycling business under a micro-loan that might be a model for supplying tanks. In previous work in Rwanda I met the manager of the Heinekein-owned brewery near Gisenyi. They import malt, hops and other ingredients (lots of sugar cane grown locally), some of which arrive in containers suitable for RWH.

If we could join with other organizations, the idea of collecting food-grade containers on a larger scale may be worthwhile. The cost of transport could put these out reach to village households unless we could develop a creative strategy. Shipment by twenty-foot containers is billed on cubic volume, so the price is the same whether half-filled or totally full. This may be a way to involve firms routinely transporting to lesser developed parts of the world.

I'm already getting excited by new ideas generated from this application process. I am delighted and already convinced that the PWX is what unfortunately Engineers Without Borders is not!

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