The quality of the essential commodity water is being compromised by contaminants originating from anthropogenic sources, industrial activities, and agriculture amongst others.  Water scarcity and severe drought in many regions of the world also represents a significant challenge to the availability of this resource.  Domestic rainwater harvesting (DRWH), which involves the collection and storage of water from rooftops and diverse surfaces, is successfully implemented worldwide as a sustainable water supplement. In South Africa, a water-scarce country, the use of domestic rainwater harvesting is predominantly practised by communities situated in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. While the use of DRWH tank systems can definitely suffice and serve as an alternative water supply, there is a health risk associated with the use of this water source for drinking purposes, especially if the water is used untreated. Currently the information available on the microbial and chemical quality of harvested rainwater in South Africa is limited.

Published in Research Highlights