Rainwater, from a jar

Posted on 17th Mar by Simon Neal − Category: News


This dry season has been very dry! Since the start of 2015 we have only had around three ‘proper’ rain-showers to keep our grass growing and fill our very empty water tanks. For people in the slum communities this has been very difficult, with water quality and availability dropping each week. In fact, the WHO have put out advice and warning about the spread of Typhoid in Kampala over the last few weeks. So, getting clean water is a must at this time of year.

In light of this we have recently been focussing on finding out more about ‘water harvesting’ techniques that are low-cost and that can be built by the man-in-the-street. This past week Tata Joshua from Kasubi slum and Julius from our Family Centre land have joined staff in building a simple water tank. It’s one of many designs that we plan to train community members in over the coming months. This particular tank is called a ‘Water Jar’ – we think, owing to its shape.

Before training groups in this technique our team needed to know how to make one by getting their hands (really) dirty and constructing a jar over the course of four days. The tank is made out of ‘ferro-cement’, which is cement and metal meshed together to create a strong structure. Building it involves creating a brick and mud shell which is then coated with cement and wire until solid. The bricks and mud are then excavated by someone who bravely climbs into the jar and passes out the materials. The resulting structural shape is strong, very long-lasting and protected from climbing children through a rough surface.

Now that we have constructed the tank, we will incorporate it into our training with groups and I’m sure we’ll see some more in the area around the Family Centre.

Take a look at these pictures which show the step-by-step process and finished Water Jar.

Water Jar base (281x500)

The base is built with stones, bricks and cement

Water Jar bricks (281x500)

Layers of bricks and local termite mound mud are added to form the shape.

Water Jar cement (500x281)

Cement is ‘thrown’ onto the outside of the jar.

adding wire mesh (500x375)

Wire mesh is added and then more cement to finish.

Water Jar 500

The finished Water Jar!

So, next time you run a bath, please remember the communities and the team in Uganda!