One of the biggest challenges society faces today is finding clean and reliable sources of drinking water. In Tanzania, a country located on the eastern coast of Africa, access to clean, safe water is a major concern in rural areas due to limited resources and inadequate sanitation, leading to many health, environmental, and socio-economic problems.

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Location of Tanzania and its largest city, Dar es Salaam

In order to meet the needs of a rapidly growing nation, the Salvatorian Sisters are in the process of constructing a new primary school building outside the city of Dar es Salaam in Buyuni, Tanzania. After being connected with The Sisters, the student-lead chapter of Engineers Without Borders at Michigan State University designed a rainwater harvesting system for this school. The implementation of this project in the rural area will benefit the 600 students and teachers that will eventually be using the school. In the future, MSU-EWB plans to continue addressing this issue by evolving a multi-phase project for a rainwater collection, purification, and distribution system.

Team Members with the Salvatorian Sisters during an Assessment trip

After designing the system, the first step of this program is to now install the rainwater collection system at the partially built school, which will incorporate a gutter system, tanks with a first flush system, and an overflow system. The water will be non-potable at first but can be used for cleaning, crop irrigation, water for animals, and flushing toilets. The overall goal of the program will be to eventually design, implement, and sustain a water treatment, filtration, collection, and distribution system in order to provide potable water to the school.

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The Salvatorian Sister’s school where the rainwater collection system will be installed