Notes to broadcasters
For many rural dwellers it is more and more difficult to get access to water. This script discusses some of the factors that can be taken into consideration when planning a catchment system that collects water from both sloped and flat rooftops. This information will be of special interest to women who often walk a long way to fetch water for the household.
Hello to everybody listening to our program.
If you are a woman and you walk a long way to fetch water, today we have some good news for you. We’re going to talk about a way to collect water with less effort – by catching it on your roof!
That’s right. You might be surprised to discover how much water you can collect from the roof. You can collect water for washing, and cleaning, and for watering your garden.
If you want to build a rainwater collection system, you are going to need a pipe or gutter to carry the water from the roof, and a storage container.
I’m going to start by talking about the gutter. You can make a gutter from tin, or from a large, split piece of bamboo, or from a piece of wood. Remember that your gutters will have to be big enough to carry large amounts of water during a heavy rainfall.
Once you have your gutters, attach them firmly to the roof or the outside wall of the building. The gutters should slope slightly down towards the storage tank. You don’t want any pools of water to form in the gutters.
Hello. We’re back talking with you today about how to collect rainwater from the roof. We’ve already talked about attaching the gutters to the roof. The next thing you will need is a storage container to hold the water. For this purpose there are many possibilities. You might want to use a metal tank, an old washtub, a plastic container, a concrete jar or a clay cistern.
If you’re thinking about collecting water from your rooftop, you might be wondering how clean that water will be.
Something to keep in mind is that any dirt on your roof will affect the quality of the water.
The materials that the roof is made of will also affect water quality. For example, thatch may contaminate the water or make the water a different colour. Or chemicals from the roof can get into the water. Because of this, you might not be able to use the water for drinking or cooking.
Today we’re talking about how to collect extra water for the household from the rooftop. If you have a sloping roof, then everything probably seems quite easy and straightforward.
But what if you have a flat roof?
If you have a flat roof you may think that you can’t catch much rain.
But, any roof can be improved to catch more water.
Here’s a simple way to collect water from a flat roof.
What you need to do is to make your roof seem higher than it really is. You want to add a vertical surface to your roof. And the way to do this is to attach a panel to your roof.
When I say “panel”, I mean that you could use a piece of wood, a piece of metal, or a piece of plastic. Any material will work as long as it is solid.
Once you have the panel, attach it securely to the top of the roof, on the side of the house that faces the wind. The important thing is that the panel is placed so that the rainwater will blow into it, and slide down it directly into the gutter.
If you have light winds, use a tall panel, about two metres high. [please use commonly-used local measurement]
If there are strong winds in your area, use a shorter panel. Or, use a panel that can be easily removed in case of heavy winds. If the panel is to tall, strong winds might blow it down.
That’s all the time we have for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this program about catching rainwater from the roof. If you have already tried this method and have some suggestions or ideas for other listeners, please contact us here at the radio station and tell us about your experiences.
Thank you for listening.
- This script was originally published as Script 7 in Package 54, January 2000. It was reviewed by Kenneth Boche, Permaculture Teacher and Energy Specialist, Hawaii, U.S.A.