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Harvest Every Drop published in the Ugandan Rotary Magazine: The Rolling Wave

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The Harvest Every Drop System; ingenuity of a high school student

Feb 1, 2024

My name is Madeline Abrams, and to me, every drop of water counts. I am a junior at a high school in New York. It is an honor to share with you an accessible rainwater harvesting system I created to help with water shortages and “single- use” plastic water bottle pollution. The hope is for everyone to create and use this rainwater system so that each person can harvest every drop.


The system I constructed is attached to a pitched roof with an area of 7.8 m2. I cut 18 water bottles (1.5 L each), creating a half-pipe horizontal gutter-like system across a 3.6 m roofline (see Figure 1). This gutter is on a slight decline towards the downspout, which is a piping system constructed of 0.5 L water bottles that I cut to fit into one another and secured using heavy-duty, waterproof tape (see Figure 2). This system collects the water that falls on the roof’s surface and directs it through the downspout and into a receptacle, such as a barrel or bucket (see Figure 3).


To measure the amount of water collected through this system, I compared the rainwater that fell into an open bucket with the rainwater captured through my rainwater harvesting system. I found that the rainwater harvesting system collects approximately 25 times more water than the open bucket. Depending on conditions, such as tree coverage and wind, the amount of rainwater collected through the system might vary. In other words, the rainwater harvesting system vastly increases rainwater collection by simply using existing surface areas and accessible materials.


The water that is collected can be used for irrigation (gardening and farming), and, with boiling or proper filtration, the water can be used for drinking, cooking, or washing. In areas where water is scarce, this system is especially helpful in amplifying the amount of rainwater collected when it falls.

For more information, please use the QR code to access the website that includes instructional videos and more details about the project and its implementation.


Please join me in the effort to improve access to water and address plastic pollution. Please share this information with your communities, connect with each other, and identify resources and adaptations that you have embraced to make the system successful in your community. Additionally, please post any suggestions and questions via Your contributions will help to advance the implementation of this system so that, hopefully, everyone can harvest every drop.

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