BSP - Rural Roof Water Harvesting Initiative

Roof water harvesting (RWH) and stone pavement of homesteads improves household water supply and hygiene and reduces women’s workload in the Tigray region.


RRWHI is a main component of Beles SUNRise Project (BSP) for improving access to water for drinking, as well as food and income by upscaling the proven technology of RWH in Tigray Region.

Outcomes & Outputs

Water supply and homestead hygiene is significantly improved.
  • 510 households (50% f) each harvest 5,000 Lt rain water in a normal year (500 mm annual rainfall) and minimum 2,500 Lt in a rain deficient year (250 mm annual rainfall).
  • 360 homestead courtyards of project target households are paved with flat stones.
  • Project household members are sensitized and instructed in courtyard pavement with natural flat stones.
  • 36 young community members (20 m; 16 f) are trained and equipped in installation, operation and maintenance of roof water harvesting systems.
  • 6 District Water Resource Development Offices are familiarized with drinking water disinfection system
Students and teachers of five public schools benefit from improved water supply and sanitation and are exposed and involved in water harvesting, small-scale irrigation and school gardening.
  • 5 public schools will each be equipped with RWH systems
  • 5 public schools will each be equipped with gender segregated compost toilets.
  • 5 public schools will each be equipped with a run-off water harvesting pond for small scale irrigation of a school garden
  • 5 school administrations are trained in managing and maintaining RWH drinking water systems; compost toilettes, run-off water harvesting ponds and school gardens.


The RRWHI address a basic need. It is implemented as a RWH up scaling component of BSP in six BSP partner villages distributed over five districts of Tigray Region in order to create the basis for wider dissemination of domestic roof water harvesting throughout the region. 
On-the-job training (2 weeks) for selected local youths on RWH system construction, operation and maintenance to ensure  skills for maintenance and scaling up of RWH systems remain with the communities after phasing out of the project. During the project period, the trained community RWH teams (consisting of 6 technicians) are mobilized by RWHI on contract basis to organize and supervise project, thereby creating local employment and income for the trained youths.
Socially inclusive and pro-poor beneficiary selection criteria practiced. In addition, beneficiary households contribute their own in kind resources (labor and collection of local materials) towards the realization of the project. Furthermore, they provide household labor for collection and supply of local materials for the pavement of homestead courtyards. Household labor and material contribution amounts to 5–15% of the total cost (15% in households where courtyards are properly stone paved).

Results Achieved (up to December 2012)

  • 347 households (men and women) have installed RWH systems and more than 85% of the households have harvested water and gained access to drinking water.
  • 170 households have completed stone pavements of homestead courtyards for improved homestead hygiene. 
  • 36 young community members (20 male and 16 female) are trained as RWH technicians and equipped in installation, operation and maintenance of roof water harvesting systems. 
  • A different type of ferro-cement cistern with a storage capacity of 7.2 m3 with similar cost of the 2.5 m3 is successfully developed and tested and the previous molds replaced with the newly designed mold. 
  • 12 new molds and lead covers for the Ferro-cement cistern are manufactured, and distributed to each project site. 
  • Practical training on the new cistern design to 24 RWH technicians completed, while training of 12 technicians is undergoing. 
  • 4 cisterns of the new design (7.2 m3) constructed in 4 project communities for demonstration and learning as a preparation for the scaling up of the newly designed Ferro-cement cisterns.
  • Construction of run-off water harvesting ponds in 5 public schools and installation of RWH systems in 4 schools are completed. The RWH systems were installed before the rainy season and school pupils have gained access to drinking water.   
  • Experience sharing field days were organized for district stakeholders and beneficiaries in 3 project sites. 
  • Beneficiary households especially women in all project communities have expressed their satisfaction and appreciation of this intervention in community meetings and field day events.

Partners and Supporters:

Phase: Phase I (2011-2013)

Overall Budget: 
CHF 384,000

Five Districts (Woredas) and six Vilages (Tabias) of Tigray Region where BSP is operational.

  • Bureau of Water Resources Development at regional, district and local levels.
  • Tabia Cabinet with representatives from water supply, health, extension and school.
  • The School management committee of five public schools.
  • Local private sector enterprises (metal workshops).
  • Other regional government and non-government partners of BSP including OFRAD.
Donors: Swiss Development Cooperation (78%) and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (22%)

510 households with total 2250 persons; 2500 students and teachers of the five public schools; local private sector enterprises; and trained RWH technicians.

More Information


Project Office

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation 
Beles SUNRise Project / RRWHI
Mekele, Tigray, Ethiopia

P.O.Box 1883
Tel: 0344411323