International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
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6th International Conference on Rainwater Catchmant Systems
"Participation in Rainwater Collection for Low-Income Communities and Sustainable Development"
Nairobi, Kenya - August 1993


Rainwater has been collected and stored for domestic and agricultural uses for thousands of years. This ancient art is still practised in many parts of the world. In other regions, however, development and widespread application of ground water drilling technologies and large-scale water resources exploitation have tended to shift the emphasis away from rainwater harvesting systems. Thus while rain water catchment has long been embraced as a water supply technology appropriate to local needs in parts of the Caribbean, Middle East, Asia and Australia, only recently has its enormous potential been demonstrated elsewhere. In Thailand, for example, more than twelve million 2000/litre ferrocement roof catchment jars have been constructed since 1985. Rainwater catchment systems are increasingly being recognized as affordable, low-cost and environmentally sound and a simple alternative to water supply in many urban and rural settings.

The seed for the establishment of an association for rainwater catchment systems was sown when the first International Rainwater Cistern Systems Conference was convened in Hawaii, in June 1982 by Professor Yu-Si-Fok. Subsequent international conferences were held in the US Virgin Islands (1984), Thailand (1987), Philippines (1989) and Taiwan (1991). At the 4th International Conference held in Philippines, it was agreed that an international association for rain water catchment systems should be established. The International Rain water Catchment Systems Association (IRCSA) was officially launched at the 5th International Conference on Rainwater Cistern Systems held in Taiwan in 1991.

The 6th International Conference on Rainwater Catchment Systems was held in Nairobi in August 1993. The theme of this conference was "Participation in rainwater collection for low income communities and sustainable development". More than 60 technical papers presented at this conference by delegates from some 30 countries around the world are contained in these proceedings.

We take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions made by United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank/UNDP Regional Water and Sanitation Group, the German Volunteer Service and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, among others, who helped to finance the 6th International Conference on Rainwater Catchment Systems. We also wish to extend our gratitude to the University of Nairobi, the hosts, and the Ministry of Water Development for supporting this conference

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