By LILLIAN ALUANGA-DELVAUX
The coming weeks are expected to see a reduction in the amount of rainfall that has pounded the country, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
According to the latest predictions by the Meteorology Department, the current rains are expected to end this month in most parts of the country, but continue into June for Western and parts of Rift Valley provinces. But even as the nation counts the losses incurred by weeks of flooding, there is a likelihood that much of the water, which could otherwise be harvested for use in dry seasons, may have gone to waste.
But not so for a housing complex in Nairobi’s Karen area. While much of the country may be ruing the lost opportunity, Sanjiv Seedhar will have little to worry about keeping the 28-acre piece of land, on which stand 28 housing units, lush.
What was an idea borrowed from a farm in Yatta, Machakos District, has resulted in well-manicured gardens purely sustained by water harvested from rains.
At the centre of the group of waterfront homes is a stretch of about two acres of land on which sit three man-made lakes that water harvested from gutters fitted onto the roofs drains into.
The lakes, which are about 1.2 metres deep, are currently at full capacity and lie below picturesque wooden bridges linking homes across the water.
While water levels in the lakes may drop to about six inches in the dry season there is currently enough to last the gardens for several months. At the Sandalwood Properties, aesthetics and conservation techniques have been meshed into what may be considered a model on rainwater harvesting for other housing complexes within the city.
While the roofs are designed in a way that allows for easy flow of water, there are drains strategically fitted at different points to ensure water flowing from the gutters and runoff from nearby roads drains into the lake.
Then there are automatic sprinklers fitted into the ground to ensure the gardens are well watered, and a small sewer treatment plant on the facility to ensure a steady supply of water to the gardens — regardless of the season.
“We are hoping to get more property developers to think this way, not just about water conservation, but incorporating other energy saving techniques such as the use of solar panels,” says Mr Seedhar.