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Water tanks offer health and savings for rural homes

Tanks

By Lydia Gichuki

Investing in a water tank can reduce a rural home’s water costs by two thirds, reduce water-borne diseases, and pay for itself within a year and a half: freeing up nearly Sh50,000 a year from then onwards to spend on other things, according to a FarmBizAfrica survey of water tank prices and of rural household water spending.

In a normal year, Kenya’s rainy seasons run for most of five months, from March to May and again in October and November, yet most of the rainfall goes uncollected, leaving many households struggling to get water for basic use in the drier months. This is compounded by the unreliability of many water companies, which often supply water to households in rural areas only once or twice a week.

As a result, according to the 2019 census by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, only 34.2 per cent of Kenya’s households have access to piped drinking water.

Indeed, according to Global Waters, only 58 per cent of Kenyans have access to drinking water at all, and only 30 per cent have access to basic sanitation. Additionally, 41 per cent of Kenyans rely on unimproved water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers, which are unsafe and unreliable, as most of these sources are open and seasonal.

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As a result, many rural households are forced to buy 20-litre jerry cans of water for Sh20 each from water vendors. Yet, an average rural household of five people in Kenya consumes between 150 litres to 200 litres of water daily, for drinking and cooking and for chores such as house mopping, laundry, bathing and general hygiene, and if there is a flushing toilet that uses an additional 26 litres per flush.

For one month, such a household will require 6,000 litres of water, costing up to Sh6,000 a month if bought in jerry cans from water vendors.

The costs are lower for homes that are connected to large water companies. According to the Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company, 1,000 litres of water costs Sh65 plus a monthly meter maintenance fee of Sh250. If no meter is installed, a deposit of Sh1,000 and a meter installation fee of Sh500 is required.

Thus, where a water company is reliable, the savings are only marginal through adding a water tank. But for any farm without tapped water, the savings are considerable, and for rural homes accessing water from open sources, tank water offers health benefits by reducing the chances of contacting disease such as amoeba and cholera.

In terms of supply, 15,000 litres of rainfall can be collected by a household during a typical rainy season, depending on the type of roofing and gutters. Thus, for the five months of the two rainy seasons, a water tank will provide self sufficiency in water. With attention towards collection, it can also provide water for some weeks after the rains stop too.

Based on prices collected by farmbiz.glorycarefoundation.org, it is possible to buy a 10,000 litre tank for Sh65,700. With optimum water collection and direction into the tank from the farm’s rooftops, this size of tank can cover a typical home’s needs for 8 months a year, saving up to Sh48,000 on jerry can water.

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The Ministry of Water and Irrigation ádvises that such tanks need proper installation to increase their longevity .The tank should be placed on a plastered area referred to as plinth, which must be smooth to avoid tearing from the pressure and friction when water collects.

The tap can either be at the bottom or on top and a wash out must be built to allow water to pour out. The first water collected from the rainfall must then be poured out to avoid consumption of dirt from the roof.

Additionally, a shade should be built for the tank to ensure it does not get destroyed by the UV light from the sun.

With these measures in place, a water tank should typically last for 20 years.

Below are water tank companies and their prices

KENTAINERS LTD

Contact – 0733206378

500 L     –    Sh4,500

1,000 L   –   Sh8,000

2,000 L   –   Sh12,700

2,300 L   –   Sh15,000

2,500 L   –   Sh17,000

3,000 L.  –   Sh19,000

4,000 L.  –   Sh28,200

5,000 L.  –   Sh33,000

6,000 L.  –   Sh40,000.

8,000 L    –  Sh57,000.

10,000 L  –  Sh65,700

16,000 L  –  Sh140,000

24,000 L  –  Sh240,000

 

TOP TANK

Contact: Phone: 020 3939000

100 L- Sh1,650

200 L- Sh2,300

300 L- Sh3,450

750 L- Sh8,000

920 L- Sh8,875

1,000 L  –  Sh9,125

1,350 L  –  Sh11,875

1,500 L  –  Sh12,940

1,900 L  –  Sh14,500

2,000 L  –  Sh16,250

2,300 L  –  Sh16,875

2,500 L  –  Sh18,437

3,200 L  –  Sh27,500

3,500 L  –  Sh28,125

4,200 L  –  Sh33,750

4,600 L  –  Sh36,750

5,000L  –   Sh37,500

8,000 L  –  Sh67,500

10,000 L –  Sh87,500

12,000 L –  Sh126,500

15,000 L –  Sh170,500

24,000 L –  Sh 86,000

Photo; Tanks

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