Tag Archives: Acton students’ novel way to harness the rain

Rain Water Harvesting and Life skills Development: Acton Students Show the Way

The article below was sent to me by one of the readers of this blog. It is a short article but contains several lessons which include water conservation, better use of students’ time, life skills development, and last but not the least, how our young ones can acquire tools of good citizenship.

The term rain water butt used in the article means “a water tank used to collect and store rain water runoff.”  M. K. C. Sridhar, A. O. Coker and S. A. Adegbuyi (2001) note that rain water harvesting has become a world-wide practice to meet the increasing demand for fresh water. According to them, in Nigeria it is widely practiced mostly in the southern part as the rainfall is widespread for over 8 months a year with mean intensity of 180 to 225 cm. Rain water harvesting is practised at individual level, household level, community level and occasionally at Local or State government level to augment the dwindling water supplies to urban centers. Their study describes the magnitude of rain water harvesting in selected communities in peri-urban areas obtained from a house to house survey, their behavioural practices in harvesting, storage and usage of the rain water, the quality of such waters and design of a sustainable system in one of the study areas.

It would be interesting to find out where rain water harvesting has been practiced at state level in Nigeria. In a study carried out by this blogger in March 2005 for WaterAid, it was discovered that at Obijago, a community of 1,371 people in Obi Local Government Area of Benue State, rain water harvesting was practiced using 8 concrete tanks. Considering the population of this community this blogger noted at the time that household rain water harvesting is also necessary in this community to supplement the effort of the local government.

Acton students’ novel way to harness the rain

Jul 25 2012 By Jane Harrison

WEEKS of rain may have got us down, but pupils at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls have launched a project to conserve some of that water.

Girls at the school in Queens Drive, Acton, built a rain capture system, a large underground tank and a channel to run off the water from the geodesic dome they built earlier this year as an outdoor extension for the school.

They dug a channel, laid bricks and made concrete so they could pump the water, powered by a solar panel, to the nearby plants. The project, which uses maths, plumbing and steel-cutting skills, to name a few, is designed to help them work together and build life skills.

Teacher and specialist co-ordinator Mike Heyes said the girls were helped with the project by Darcy illiamson, who works on water management projects in India. He said the summer’s regular downpours would help the project, but had hindered their work to set it up.

He said: “We first planned this during the winter but hadn’t a clue the summer would be this bad so it is very muddy, but when it’s finished we can harness all this rain.

“At the time ground water levels were dropping across the country so we decided to do this to address the water loss. It’s really a grand version of a water butt at the end of your drainpipe.

“The girls have needed maths for things like working out the volume of the soil, they have learned how to how to mix cement and concrete, brick-laying and how to use silicone to make it water-tight, even
cutting steel.”

Fifteen girls are working on the project, which according to their maths teacher Hetal Patel, they are thoroughly enjoying.

She said: “They have been really keen and matured working as a team. If they want to go into engineering they now know what is involved. They have also surprised themselves becoming more confident about what they can do. It has been especially good for the quieter ones.”

Two of the pupils, Danielle Barbosa and Sivatharsini Sennappan, both 15, said they are revelling the challenge. Danielle, from West Acton, said: “I thought it was more of a man’s job and thought I couldn’t do it, but it’s fun. Some things have been useful like applying the maths.”

Sivatharsini, from Perivale, said: “I like this kind of thing, so I was really up for it, although my arms ache now. It has been good experience.”

Postscript: Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls is  in the U.K.

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