Description of the DRIP project.
The basic goal of the DRIP Project is to promote a cheap and effective way of harvesting
rainwater as a means of relieving food shortages.
DRIP started in 2005 with the goal of promoting rainwater harvesting as a way of relieving
food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing uncertainty in the weather patterns for this
region meant that crops were failing due to lack of water when in fact there was sufficient
rains to maintain crop growth, it was just that it was not happening during the right part of
the crop growing cycle. This pattern of failure was having a significant effect on the poorest
subsistent farmers who generally grew crops for their own consumption in a kitchen garden
located adjacent to their dwelling house that was a grass roofed hut.
The original concept of DRIP was to assist these farmers by building a low cost rainwater
harvesting system based upon using the ready made collection system of the grass roof of
their hut and a 1500 litre capacity tank built from locally made sun baked bricks skimmed
with a waterproofed cement render. This size of the tank would be sufficient to provide
enough water to irrigate the kitchen garden. By limiting the use of the tank to irrigation
purposes only, the cost of a tank was kept to an absolute minimum based upon a small tank
and no expensive filtration system was necessary to provide water fit for human consumption.
It was recognised that to ensure that the limited amount of water that was captured would
achieve the goal of food security the water would have to be used in the most effective way
possible and only for crop irrigation. To ensure that this was the case horticultural experts
from the UK provided education for the local population on how to use the water in the most
effective manner and a local Ugandan focal person was employed to ensure that those
horticultural techniques were being adopted and that the water was not being used for other
purposes as a matter of convenience.
Operation of DRIP in Africa.
DRIP has developed a holistic program for use in
any region of subsaharan Africa. This program
has been developed in Pallisa, Eastern Uganda,
and in the most recent visit comprised:
Construction: To build tanks in one sub-county
of Pallisa to provide a solid demonstration of the
Education: To provide education to as many as
possible in the concepts of the DRIP rainwater
harvesting system and also of water efficient
horticulture methods to use the stored water.
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