Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development Vol 2 No 4 pp 241–249 2012
Rainwater harvesting in rural Trinidad; a cross sectional, observational study
Jonathan M. E. Dean, Fredericka Deare, Keizel Kydd, Jennie Ward-Robinson and Paul R. Hunter
The Norwich School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.
Women Gender and Water Network, Institute of Gender and Development Studies, The University of the West Indies
Institute for Public Health and Water Research, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Rainwater harvesting is a well-established practice in many parts of the world. In the right environment it can provide a convenient, inexpensive and sustainable source of potable water. This study explored rainwater collecting system use within rural Trinidadian communities. Data regarding participants’ demographic details, water practices, health- and water-related beliefs were collected from six separate regions late in 2009 using a purpose designed questionnaire. The findings, obtained from the 1,523 study participants resident in 292 households were analysed. Almost half (130) of the participating households utilised rainwater as their main supply although some found it necessary to switch to alternative sources during dry periods.
The majority of participants (478) who harvested rainwater were very satisfied with the quality of their water and relatively few (212) were concerned that it may pose a risk to their health. Rainwater harvesting systems are well established in Trinidad and are well accepted by those who use them. Further research is needed to establish why more households do not adopt this technology as alternative sources remain inconsistent and inadequate in many respects. These findings will assist individuals and government agencies in making informed decisions when planning and managing water sources on the island.