Kéré Foundation Kéré Foundation

Water House

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Periodic recurring droughts often cause great distress for the farming population of Gando.

That is why our newest projects is an irrigation system for the Gando schools' tree nurseries. During the rainy season heavy rainfalls, a lot of the rainwater just falls on the dry soil and is not absorbed. We are thus building a water-retention basin: the Water House. Rainwater will be collected in this Water House and used it to irrigate the tree nurseries' seedlings.

To date, our focus has been on school education; but education can only succeed if the basic needs of the pupils are also satisfied. The mango trees looked after by the Primary School students are already part of such a project. The Water House would be a further step towards sustainable reforestation.

Climatic conditions of the Sahel

In Burkina Faso, water scarcity is a reality. In some areas there is not enough water to provide clean drinking water to the population, and sufficiently irrigate the trees. During the rainy season, most areas in southern Burkina Faso are flooded because the hard laterite soil cannot absorb a large amount of water in one go. However, during the dry season, water shortages happen and young trees can hardly grow, which affects their fruit production.

Our idea is to collect the water from the heavy rainfalls in the reservoir and   it to irrigate the trees during the dry season. This would support the growth of young plants all year round. We already build some water collecting reservoirs during the construction of the Teachers' Houses, so we already have some experience in it. 

An innovative irrigation system

To irrigate the trees, we use a droplet system with which the root of the tree is directly watered. Instead of watering the trees twice a day we bury a traditional hand-made clay pots next to the trees, with drippers targeted directly to the roots. The clay pots prevent evaporation from taking place and only need to be filled once a week, giving the trees a small but constant supply of water.

Advantages of the underground rainwater reservoir

  • Concrete covers to avoid water evaporation
  • Large retaining capacity
  • Rainwater is good quality water
  • Concrete tanks are stable over decades, even when they are subjected to high mechanical load
  • Concrete tanks have a buoyancy-proof when the groundwater level rises, unlike plastic tanks.


Irrigation system of mangotrees


Support rainwater-basins