International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
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5th International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
"Rainwater Catchment for Future Generations"
Keelung, Taiwan, R.O.C. - August 1991


Show-Chyuan CHU

Lack of adequate water supply and sanitary facilities continues to pose serious problems in many countries worldwide. Most rural communities rely solely on natural water sources such as rivers, streams, open wells, and springs. These water sources are, however, often contaminated or even polluted. In some countries women and children are sent to far away places to fetch for safe drinking water. For the past decade, ferrocement tanks and jars used to store rainwater are regaining popularity as demands for water continue to rise at ever faster paces. Rain Water Cistern Systems (RWCS) have been proven to be an effective alternative for urban, as well as rural, water supplies both in developed and less developed countries. In developed countries, rainwater may supplement public water supply; whereas it may be the only alternative in rural areas where groundwater is unfit for human consumption.

The 1991 International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems is the fifth in an official series which began in Hawaii, June 1982, originated by Dr. Yu-Si Fok (the "Father" of RWCS). Coincidentally, it also marked the beginning of the United Nations' International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981-1990). Subsequent conferences were held in Virgin Islands (June 1984), Thailand (January 1987), and Philippines (August 1989). Each conference has attracted over one hundred interested scientists, policy makers, planners, implementers and students. The results are well documented, application-oriented and the published international proceedings have been widely acclaimed by the scientific community. The International Organizing Committee, during the 4th Conference in Philippines decided to hold the 5th Conference in Taiwan. It was not only an honor but also an opportunity for the scientists in Taiwan. Partly due to negligence in the past, we in Taiwan have not been very active in conserving our water resources. This conference will provide the necessary impetus to re-evaluate our present stance and strategies.
The Fifth Conference has the theme "Rain Water Catchment' for Future Generations". The purpose of this conference is to bring together, scientists and end users together and to present recent advances in rain water cistern and catchment systems, to exchange information on strategies for improving rain water cistern and catchment systems operation, and to provide a forum for discussions and contacts for all people concerned. It was also designed to focus on future research needs and applications of rain water cistern and catchment systems, as well as to assess the achievement of rain water cistern and catchment systems in meeting the United Nations' Water Decade's goal.

Responses to our call for papers for the Fifth Conference was overwhelming. The organizing committee finally decided to print 70 submitted papers in one volume. These papers report original work conducted in 32 countries. Consequently, the papers prepared for this Conference represent an excellent review of the state-of-the-art of rain water cistern systems research throughout the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all sponsors and co-sponsors of this conference. Without whose support, this event would not have been accomplished. We are appreciative of many authors who followed the detailed guidelines provided for manuscript preparation exactly, were timely in submitting their manuscripts, without their cooperation our preparation works would be unendurable.

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