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10th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater International 2001"
Mannheim, Germany - September 2001

Statement by the Participants of the 10th International Conference on Rainwater Catchment Systems, Mannheim, Germany, 10-14 September, 2001 to the International Conference on Freshwater, Bonn, 3-7 December, 2001.

The ability to collect rainwater empowers women and men in many countries of the world to secure the livelihood of their families. It is proving a vital aspect of the fight against poverty and contributes substantially to improved management of water at micro, community and city level. Proper husbandry of rainwater is a key aspect of integrated water resources management as it enhances groundwater recharge, balances water resources demands, and favours ecological sustainability.

Since 1982 the International Rainwater Catchments Systems Association (IRCSA) has globally promoted awareness and information exchange on rainwater. In its 10th Conference, held at Mannheim, Germany, from September 10-14, 2001, the IRCSA has noted with appreciation the increasing capacity and documentation for rainwater harvesting around the world. Over 400 participants representing 68 countries and many different organisations, gathered to review and exchange experiences and information on enhancing collection and effective use of rainwater for drinking, agriculture, industry, fresh water and ecology. IRCSA acknowledges with gratitude the contributions of the many local and international sponsors who facilitated the holding of the Conference.

The participants have taken note of the important progress that has been made in the last few years, both in developing countries and developed countries, in all aspects of rainwater harvesting.

The 10th IRCSA Conference offered substantive information about planning, design, management and maintenance of systems, for rural and urban applications. It addressed aspects of water quality, information and awareness raising, agricultural use and environmental applications.

The case studies and papers of the Conference clearly demonstrate the potential of rainwater harvesting,

  • to provide safe water and create economic opportunities for households and communities through increased water security 
  • to safeguard fresh water resources in water-stressed urban areas 
  • to reverse the trend of degradation of water resources 
  • to contribute to ecologically sound management of rainfall and run-off.

We are encouraged by these findings and conclude that the mix of indigenous and new knowledge on rainwater now allows its increased use in a more effective way to secure access to fresh water for all people.

We urge the International Conference on Freshwater, scheduled for December 3-7, 2001, in Bonn to review the potential of rainwater harvesting as a critical part of our common freshwater resource and advance its proper utilisation through appropriate strategies and policies. We trust the Bonn Freshwater Conference will forward our common rainwater experience to the 2002 World Summit in Johannesburg as an example of progress in Agenda 21and as a contribution to poverty alleviation, sustainable development and environmental management.

We recall the vibrant debate on rainwater during the 2000 World Water Forum in The Hague and acknowledge gratefully the keen interest shown by the Kyoto 3rd World Water Forum 2003 to foster the application of rainwater harvesting as a prime people solution for water security and livelihood.

Lastly, we look forward to receiving the stimulating directions and inputs of these important global people, water and environment conferences to our next IRCSA Conference, scheduled for September 2003 in Mexico


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