International Conference on Rainwater Catchmant Systems
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
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