More than 320 students and teachers from Ereri Primary School in Segera will soon benefit from a newly constructed rain water harvesting building. It has been constructed by the Zeitz Foundation will be opened on the 14th of April this year in a ceremony attended by local and national leaders as well as hundreds of community members and school parents.
Ereri School is the sixth such building created by the Segera-based foundation. The building sits on top of a 100,000 litre reservoir and has five classrooms, two teacher offices and a courtyard that is easily transformed into a theatre/performance space.
The first water-bank school was built and opened in 2012 at Uaso Nyiro Primary School by the Zeitz Foundation with additional funding from Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission. The concept was to create a unique, low-cost rain-harvesting building known as a ‘water bank’. The name comes from the building’s capacity to harvest and store high volumes of water for long periods of time. This particular water bank can harvest up to 360,000 litres in a year. In 2013 it won the US Green Building Council’s “Greenest School on Earth Award” and was featured on the sustainable solutions website “Sustainia 100”.
A second and much more ambitious project is the Laikipia Unity Football Academy at Endana Secondary School. The stadium is also designed to harvest rain, and has a storage capacity of more than 1.5 million liters underneath the playing surface! Teams can engage in 5-a-side football and volleyball games, and the stadium has seating for 1500 people.
The structure also houses administration rooms, classrooms and an environmental education classroom. The buildings are an innovative approach at dealing with one of Africa’s most pressing problems: finding clean drinking water. At the same time they provide a great source of fun and entertainment through sports. This school can harvest 2 million liters of water a year. Not bad for a semi-arid region that receives 550mm rainfall in the same period!
In communities where the effects of climate change can cause prolonged drought and erratic weather, rainfall water-banking in public buildings and community spaces is a great way to demonstrate how communities can become more resilient in the face of dwindling water supplies. Stay tuned for next month’s issue of Forum Focus where we cover the events of the opening ceremony.