Harvesting Rainwater with Parachutes

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Some regions in sub-Saharan Africa barely receive any rainfall at all. This spells trouble for the people living in these areas as ground water is just as difficult to procure. Because most of the time rainfall is the main source of potable water, collecting as much of it as possible is crucial to survival.


To help the residents of these semi-arid areas collect water, a project was initiated by PITCHAfrica and ATOPIA Research called Rainchutes.

Decommissioned parachutes are repurposed to collect water as an alternative to more costly domestic rainfall harvesting solutions. The system is lightweight, low-cost, and portable. This affordability could make all the difference in areas with insufficient rainfall.

rainchut 1

The Rainchute is designed to be incorporated with a water filtration as well as a storage system. What’s more, the system could be used as a tool for teaching children the principles and importance of rainwater harvesting.

rainchuts rainfall collection education

The project is incredibly viable, especially in areas where roofs aren’t big enough or the materials used don’t work as a water collection system (like grass or mud). In areas where the annual rainfall is just 600mm, one standard decommissioned Vietnam-era parachute can harvest up to 25,000 liters of water a year. With water storage, this system can provide about 70 liters a day – enough for 14 people.

rainchut 2

Visionaries + Movers

PITCHAfrica + ATOPIA Research

Photos via: Rainchutes