FROM THE FIELD: ‘Harvested’ rainwater saves Tanzanian students from stomach ulcers, typhoid

UNICEF/Kate Holt Students in Tanzania enjoy fresh water for drinking, washing and cooking.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The students in the Tanzanian town of Bagamoyo once had to decide between getting sick or being thirsty all day long.

Drought, rising sea levels and erratic rainfall made the local water well so salty that when they drank, they would get headaches, stomach aches and even ulcers. Unsanitary conditions turned it into a disease-spreading font.

However, thanks to a project run by UN Environment and its partners, the situation took a turn for the better.

They constructed a rainwater harvesting system, which involved rooftop guttering and a series of large water tanks, that provided the students with fresh water for drinking, washing and cooking.

“This water is very sweet and when we drink it, our health gets better because that water is pure,” said one happy student customer.

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