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

Section 5: Legal and Political Aspects of Rainwater Harvesting

Paper 5.1

Legal Aspects of Rainwater Harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa

Hans Hartung and Christine Patschull
FAKT Consult for Management, Training and Technologies


The major objective of water law is to establish a framework for the protection and control of water resources in a country. A water law defines the legal entitlement to water and identifies the rights and obligations tied to water use and thus provides the prescriptive parameters for its development.
Until now, water laws don't deal with domestic roofwater harvesting (drwh) as the direct collection of roof runoff and storage for later use. So far, drwh is working outside the legal framework on project-level. Practitioners rather follow a strategy of creating facts without too much government involvement, instead of working on appropriate legislation.

This practice limits drwh though. While individual village-level drwh projects may succeed in the short term, their long term sustainability may be severely tested in the absence of an appropriate institutional and legal framework at all levels. It is also unlikely that widespread replication of appropriate technologies and community-based implementation strategies will be achievable in the absence of supportive institutions at higher levels, even if a isolated project success may be possible. Moreover, we will show that the organization of the water sector has severe direct and indirect implications for the promotion of drwh and thus can't be ignored.

PDF of full document (9pp, 43kb)

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