Installation of rainwater harvesting system in drought-affected area school

Fri. 31 of January of 2020, 11:52h

A rainwater harvesting structure was inaugurated on January 30, 2020 at the Suco de Cribas Elementary School in the municipality of Manatuto.

This structure can store 100,000 liters of water, which can cover school needs for a whole year, even in dry years, benefiting 738 children.

The inauguration was attended by the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Dulce de Jesus Soares, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, José Gusmão dos Reis Martins, the Ambassador of the European Union in Timor-Leste, Andrew Jacobs, representatives of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the Administrator of the Municipality of Manatuto, and the head of Suco of Cribas.

The initiative is from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP) and the Administration of the Municipality of Manatuto, with the support of the European Union (EU) and FAO, which have come together to limit the effects of drought in the Municipality. Harvesting water during the rainy season from November to March, using existing infrastructure, such as building roofs, can help alleviate the drought problem.

The Minister of Education, Youth and Sport stressed that "this is the first time such a structure has been built in a school in Timor-Leste" and added that this system "provides a practical solution to address access to clean water for children of age".

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries thanked "the support of the European Union and the fruitful cooperation between two institutions" and explained that "weather conditions in Timor-Leste are characterized by heavy monsoon rains, followed by a marked dry season. Many areas of the country spend six months a year without rains, while during the rainy season the water is not used. With the support of the EU, FAO and MAP it was possible to demonstrate that we can use existing infrastructure, such as the roof of our buildings, public and private, to collect water during the rainy season".

Suco Chief Eurico Alves said that "Suco of Cribas is regularly affected by drought and the local population suffers from lack of water during the dry season, especially school-age children. Of the seven springs in Cribas, only two have water during the dry season, which causes many difficulties for the population”.

The European Union ambassador said that "the EU is very proud of cooperation with the Government of Timor-Leste and FAO in this innovative project. The rainwater harvesting structure built in Cribas has the potential to be replicated in many other parts of the country."

The initiative also highlighted the opportunity for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to strengthen collaboration in the School Lunch Programme, which has the potential to provide a stable institutional market for local food produced by farmers.