Indonesia is a tropical country with high annual rainfall (more than 2000 mm/year). However, in our reforestation project area, the land is dry and water is scarce. This is due to the clay structure of the soil, which does not permit water absorption into the soil and the aquifer. Moreover, due to low soil drainage, excessive rain water in the form of flood just flows directly into the sea creating erosion along the way.
Nevertheless, the rainwater in the reforestation area is less likely to be polluted by industrial, fossil fuel, and urban combustion, because it is located in a remote village far way from industry, urban municipalities, and excessive motor vehicle use. Therefore, the quality of the rainwater in the area is less likely to be compromised and is a potential candidate for rainwater harvesting. So far, little has been done to improve access to water in the area, except for the limited municipal water facility recently available at the village. Limited water supply can have a bad effect on villager’s health due to compromised sanitation and hygiene. Harvesting rainwater in the area during the rainy season may be beneficial for local people, as well as for the reforestation project.
Rainwater harvesting may provide increased access to clean water for local people in the reforestation area. Even though the rainwater harvested might not be used for drinking, it can still be used for agroforestry, farming, animal husbandry, and toilet flushing. This would, in turn, reduce municipal water usage, so that clean municipal water use can be focused on drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. The reforestation project may also benefit from rainwater harvesting, especially for watering seedling and saplings of the trees.
As rainwater harvesting has not been tested in the village before, a lot of research is still needed to estimate the feasibility of rainwater harvesting in the village. This includes collecting data about the quality of local rainwater, rainwater seasonal pattern, water demand in the area, the most suitable material and installation design, and communal use of the rain water harvesting installation. Therefore, we are inviting researchers to the location to assist us in figuring out the feasibility of rainwater harvesting installation in the area.