Many rural areas throughout the Caribbean are forced to live without a pipe borne supply of water. Some individuals have to walk miles to get a potable supply of water. Their only source of water is from rivers, standpipes or paying for the delivery of water by water trucks. Rainwater harvesting can be a means of self-reliance for these communities, especially in the southern islands in the Caribbean where there are high rainfall levels. Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) is a cost-effective technique, and represents a viable solution for poor water scarce communities to become self-sufficient in their water supply. Rainwater harvesting can be a useful tool for developing countries in advancing their attainment of the Millennium Development Goals on water, sanitation and poverty alleviation.
The Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) has developed the Toolbox on Rainwater Harvesting in the Caribbean to share information on RWH and to improve knowledge on conducting RWH under safe and sanitary conditions. The Toolbox is a compilation of research materials on RWH in the Caribbean and best practices applicable to the Region. The GWP-C Toolbox was made possible with grant funding from the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund (PGTF) awarded to GWP-C's partner organization the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST).
The Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) which has had extensive experience in RWH throughout the Caribbean was commissioned to develop the Toolbox on behalf of the GWP-C. The Toolbox includes outputs produced under the initiative "Regional Programme for the Promotion of Rainwater Harvesting in the Caribbean" undertaken by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and CEHI which sought to promote rainwater harvesting in islands of the Caribbean.
In addition to the Toolbox, a rainwater harvesting demonstration model has been developed for display within the Caribbean as an advocacy and education tool to promote safe rainwater harvesting. The model is used at exhibitions and other for a in the Caribbean to give live demonstrations of how rainwater harvesting can be done by households, schools and others in the community. GWP-C will disseminate both the Toolbox and model throughout the Caribbean.