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<Sourcebook of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augumentation in Africa>

2.1.10 Use of Palm Petioles for Rainwater Harvesting

Technical Description

A suitable tree is planted in the homestead grounds. Suitable trees usually have broad leaves which collect rainwater which is channelled to a collecting pot (Figure 36).

Figure 36

Figure 36. Various methods of collecting rainwater using trees, leaves and plant materials.

Extent of Use

This technology is used in Nigeria.

Operation and Maintenance

The technology has very limited maintenance requirements. Level of Involvement The technology is usually used by individual households.


Costs are negligible, and, depending on the type of tree used, may result in a net profit to the householder.

Effectiveness of the Technology

The effectiveness of this technology depends on the effectiveness of the collecting channel. There are often significant losses resulting from spillage and other leaks within the system.


The technology is suitable for collecting small volumes of water at the household level.

Environmental Benefits

Use of this technology promotes the growing and maintenance of trees. It may encourage the propagation of indigenous vegetation.



It is a low cost technology that does not require extensive knowledge to construct or complex equipment to operate.


Large volumes of water cannot be collected using this technology. Also, the water may be contaminated with dust, insects and bird droppings as well as plant material.

Cultural Acceptability

The technology is culturally accepted in those areas where it is practised.

Information Sources

United Nations University, Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, ISSER Building Complex, Nasia Road, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.


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