One innovative initiative in Africa is repurposing old parachutes as rainwater harvesters to collect drinking water in semi-arid areas with seasonal rains, where roofs of thatch or mud aren't feasible for rainwater catchment systems.
Rainchutes, which is a project from PITCHAfrica, in collaboration with ATOPIAResearch, offers an alternative domestic rainwater harvesting system using decommissioned parachutes. The resulting system is lightweight, portable, and low-cost, and could make the difference in water poverty in many regions with appropriate amounts of rainfall.
In places where roofs are not big enough, or are made with materials that don't work well as water collection systems (such as grass, bark, or mud roofs), Rainchutes can be a viable option.
"In areas where rainfall is around 600mm annually, as it is on two-thirds of African continent, one standard decommissioned Vietnam era Parachute can harvest 25,000 liters of water annually.
This is equivalent to 70 liters every day year round and is enough to provide water for 14 people a day when coupled with basic water storage and filtration systems." - Rainchutes
The system is designed to be used in combination with a water filtration system and a water storage system appropriate to the region where it is being used.
In addition to providing a viable means for collecting rainwater, Rainchutes are also great tools for demonstrating the principles of rainwater harvesting, as well as for educating children on the fundamentals for water harvesting systems.