Rainwater harvesting aims at reaching those people not having access to sufficient and good quality fresh water. They often live in rural areas where other means of water supply are not sufficient or feasible. Within these areas groundwater is not accessible (at technically and/or financially unreachable depths) or potable (due to water quality issues, like fluoride or arsenic contamination) and other surface water (like permanent rivers, lakes and springs) are not available or sufficient to meet basic water needs.

Identifying areas where rainwater harvesting is a feasible solution is one of the aims of the RAIN Foundation. This information on the potential of rainwater harvesting is essential to guide organizations in their implementation efforts, and is at the same time important as a strong lobby tool towards national and international governments.

Besides the current potential, a future oriented approach is required as changes in climate and socio-economic development would alter the need and the potentials for rainwater harvesting. In the years to come, temperatures will rise worldwide, but the weather will also become more extreme. Both prolonged droughts and floods, whether or not combined with sea level rise, are causing a shortage of clean drinking water.

In 2010 FutureWater and Deltares were asked by RAIN Foundation to develop maps indicating the potential for rainwater harvesting (RWH) for Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso. FutureWater and Deltares used the same approach, but with a slightly different set of input parameters. This report describes the recommended approach to develop maps showing the potential for rainwater harvesting.

The interactive maps can be found here: Rainwater Harvesting Potential in Mali, Senegal & Burkina Faso