Water Harvesting

Managing the Process

A Story of Change

Typical Projects

Practical Technology


The average per capita income in Kitui is less than €2 per day

Managing Water Projects

Page Contents:

  1. How Projects are Managed

  2. Aims and Objectives of the Water Programme

  3. Using Appropriate Technology

  4. The Position of Women

Why should we support water projects in Kitui? 

  • Easy access to safe water is a basic  human right. 
  • The majority of the people of Kitui are denied this right.
  •  In Kitui, many have to walk long distances- sometimes more than 10 km each way- to get water. 
  • The burden of fetching water falls on women and girls in Kenya. 
  • Time spent fetching water is time unavailable for providing the basic necessities of life
Click Here to see details of our current projects 


Click to enlarge

A typical rock catchment constructed as a joint effort with the local community

The amount of rainfall in the arid and semi-arid lands (ARALs) like Kitui is not the problem. Kitui diocese has annual rainfall in the range 250mm-800mm, not hugely different from Dublin. However, unlike Ireland, the rainfall comes in intense bursts of short duration, and at specific seasons. Daytime temperatures are such that rapid evaporation occurs.  
  • Much of Kitui's water problem can be solved by simple methods of retaining rainwater.

  • There are several low-cost, low-technology systems which can be used to great effect.

  • For as little as €1500 you could provide a safe water supply for up to 200 people.

  • Each project will typically provide safer drinking water for 200-250 people.
In this section we will try to give a broad overview of the water situation in Kitui. The amount of rainfall in the arid and semi-arid lands (ARALs) like Kitui is not the problem: the problem lies in the distribution of that rain fall, in space and time. Kitui diocese has annual rainfall in the range 250mm-800mm, not hugely different from Dublin. However, unlike Ireland, the rainfall comes in intense bursts of short duration, and at specific seasons, and of course the daytime temperatures are such that rapid evaporation occurs. Much of Kitui's water problem could be solved by improved methods of retaining or capturing precipitation. There are several low-cost, low-technology systems which can be employed to retain, or harvest, rainfall. Friends of Kitui will support simple, practical projects with a high chance of success.

The problem is NOT insoluble.

With your help, and at relatively low cost, we can help implement methods for rainfall harvesting which will make a real difference to the lives of thousands of Kitui's people.

Projects currently being supported are shown on the Current Projects page


Our objective is to provide simple, effective technology for sustainable access to safe water, for communities within the Diocese of Kitui  who do not qualify for support from government or other NGOs.
Our aim:
  • To provide clean and viable water sources within easy reach of communities living in marginalized regions where other aid agencies are not operating.
  • To reduce the incidence of children missing school classes because they have to draw water.    
  • To promote hygiene and sanitation standards 
  • To reduce the outbreak and spread of water borne diseases 
  • To ensure project sustainability by involving the local community in all stages from planning, through implementation, to operation and maintenance, so that they have a sense of ownership of their own water project.  
  • To train groups to work together in harmony
Who do we select for support?
  • Areas which have been excluded from larger scale development projects due to remoteness. 
  • Regions where communities travel long distances of 5km or more each way to water points. 
  • Areas with no other ongoing water projects. 
  • Areas where the local communities are willing to participate in the implementation and maintenance of the projects.
  • Areas where selection of suitable locations for water projects can be done in close collaboration with the local parish council, local administration, Ministry of Water and other development agencies existing in the parishes.

Aims and Objectives of the Water Programme

The overall aim of the programme is to:

“Improve health and productivity through provision of clean water through community empowerment for sustainability development”  

 Five specific objectives have been adopted by the Water Programme as follows:

  1. To improve water availability by reducing the distance to water sources to less than 5 km from the homestead
  2. To improve women’s access and control over resources.
  3. To cause positive change in health and hygiene practices.
  4. To impart knowledge on improved conservation measures to prevent desertification.
Community Participation – The communities are required to contribute local materials and in some cases cash towards the cost of the project. In some cases this amounts to 40% of the total project cost. This has to be negotiated with the project group prior to the start of the construction and forms part of the mobilisation process. 
Construction of Water Points –  The programme concentrates on small scale technologies such as shallow wells, rock catchments and sand dams which are appropriate to these ASAL areas. Projects are selected according to predefined criteria relating to their level of organisation and commitment to contributing to the project. The programme aims to provide the following 
  • Shallow Wells (up to 30m depth, with hand pumps)
  • Rock catchments
  • Sub surface dams
  • Water harvesting (e.g collection of rainfall from roof surfaces)
  • Earth dams  

The Position of Women

Another neglected factor is the place of women in rural water supply schemes. Women are usually responsible for the supply of water to the household, and they should be involved in or made responsible for maintenance. When this has been done, it often results in a marked decrease in the number of repairs. There are many difficulties in giving women responsibility for operation and maintenance activities in societies where, traditionally, men are responsible for "technological" tasks.  Resistance is likely to be strongest  in pastoral groups where the position of women in society is relegated to a menial or subservient role. On the other hand, responsibility for site selection and construction of water supplies is vested in women in many West African countries. Ultimately, women may be more reliable in ensuring the continued operation and maintenance of water supplies because they have a greater vested interest in their continuous operation.