Roof-Harvested rainwater use in household agriculture: Contributions to the sustainable development goals

Caleb Christian Amos, Ataur Rahman, John Mwangi Gathenya, Eran Friedler, Fazlul Karim, Andre Renzaho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food and water are at the heart of sustainable development. Roof-harvested rainwater kept in rainwater storage systems (RSS) and used in household agriculture (HA) has the potential to increase yields and supplement household nutrition. Combined systems may contribute to at least eight of the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this paper, a daily analysis tool, ERain, is used to assess what area of vegetables can be reliably irrigated by roof-harvested rainwater. A socio-economic context is built around an orphanage in the semi-humid region of Nakuru, Kenya. Comparisons are made with the semi-arid region of East Pokot. A 225 kL closed masonry tank and a 1 ML open reservoir with an additional 8 kL/day of recycled water entering are analyzed for various roof sizes. The 225 kL RSS connected to 1000 m2 of roof and irrigating 1000 m2 could increase yields from 1850 to 4200 kg/year in Nakuru. If evaporation was controlled, the 1 mL RSS and recycled water system could support 4000 m2 of land, yielding nearly 20,000 kg/year, which is enough to meet the WHO recommended vegetable dietary requirements of the orphanage. A combination of crops, some for consumption and some for sale, could be grown.

Original languageEnglish
Article number332
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Agricultural water use from harvested rainwater
  • Household agriculture
  • Kenya
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Rainwater storage systems
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Urban agriculture
  • Village

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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