Thirsty Yemen Drinks Water From Rooftops

Today’s World Water Day — a nice occasion to highlight the great R.A.I.N.S. project that has just kicked off in Yemen’s capital Sana’a. Initiated by Sana’a resident Sabrina Faber, the program provides an innovative solution for water shortage by modifying existing rooftop structures in the city to capture, filter and store rain water. R.A.I.N.S., which stands for Rainwater Aggregation in Sana’a, won last year’s Philips Livable Cities Award, which has paved the way for implementation of the system.

Shortage of water causes major problems for the inhabitants of Sana’a. Rainfall is seasonal (only two times/year) and bottled water is expensive, which forces many residents to depend on the city’s polluted water system, resulting in infections and diseases. The idea behind the R.A.I.N.S. intervention is simple yet highly effective. Instead of having rain water drain onto the street and evaporate, the system ensures that water, which falls on the flat rooftops of buildings in Yemen’s capital, flows into pipes attached to water storage tanks at ground level or underground. The water can be filtered to make it potable. Faber further explains her innovative idea in the following (short) diary videos:

Faber expects each water tank to be able to generate 10,000 to 50,000 liters of clean drinking water on an annual basis. “At the current prices for a water truck (around YR 10,000 or ‎USD $40), each time the tanks are filled, that amount is saved. (…) Imagine if every building and every house in Sana’a were doing the same!” The major innovation is, of course, the enormous health benefits to the city’s population. The R.A.I.N.S. system has been installed at three spots already with many more to come. Click here to learn more about R.A.I.N.S. and the project’s progress.