Caritas Nyeri water programme has been using Ferro cement technology to construct water storage tanks since 1996. This technology which uses cement, sand and BRC mesh fabric reinforcement for the walls and roof cover for the tanks has withstood the test of time since the programme started supporting women groups to harvest rain water from their household roofs.
If you visit the rural areas in Laipikia, Nyandarua and Nyeri counties, you will not miss to notice storage tanks in homesteads with inscription “A D N Water programme” or “Caritas Nyeri Water programme” with the name of the group supported and the dates that the tank was constructed and by whom.
Way back in 1996, the Archdiocese of Nyeri development department by then and now known as “Caritas Nyeri” embarked on a programme of supporting groups especially women groups to harvest rain water using the household roofs as the water catchment.
The harvested rain water was to be stored in tanks.
The choice of the technology of constructing this storage tanks was arrived at after consideration of many aspects; i.e., The cost, time for construction, availability of construction materials, community participation, maintenance and experience from elsewhere.
The communities and other stakeholders were in doubt at that time in doubt as to the expected lifespan of the tanks constructed using this technology of utilizing cement and sand reinforced with what was referred to as a wire mesh without using stones or alternatively concrete but now, 20 years later, more than 90% the tanks are still in use.
The first tank was constructed by trainee Fundis at the then A D N Water programme office in Nyahururu during a training workshop of local artisans “fundis” to demonstrate their understanding of constructing Ferro-cement tanks. The tank capable of holding 15,000lts of water is still in use.
It takes one week to construct the tank. Many more are scattered in the rural areas in Laikipia, Nyandarua and Nyeri counties. Caritas Nyeri has supported construction of more than 2000 such tanks, the most recent ones in 84 households in seven villages namely; Waihara Village and Gititu Village in Nyeri County and Githira village, Solio village 3, Male village, Chuma village and Wamura village in Laikipia County.
The cost of constructing a tank to hold the same amount of water in masonry natural stones would cost 3 times as much. It would cost almost twice as much to purchase a plastic tank of the same capacity which in addition to constructing a base for it.
It is the high time that this technology is taken up.