International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
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1st International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - June 1982

Section 1: History Of Cisterns

Page 33

Rain Water Cistern Systems for the Himalayan Region

Raj Kumar Gupta & Vidya Sagar Katiyar
Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute, India


The Himalaya receives very heavy to heavy rainfall during the monsoon months of July to September. The annual rainfall varies from 900 to more than 2 000 mm in the western Himalaya, and even more in the eastern Himalaya of Assam, the location of Chirapunji, which means "always raining". During the monsoon months, the region receives more than 80% of the total rainfall.

Most of the rainfall is lost as runoff into streams and rivers and causes problems of flooding in the lower reaches of the rivers. Acute scarcity of potable water is experienced in the region. Rural women are the worst sufferers because they have to walk long distances to fetch drinking water from far-off streams and springs. Due to heavy deforestation in the catchment areas, perennial springs supplying potable water have dried. Rainwater cistern systems could easily meet drinking water requirements in many areas, while in others, water could be harvested for livestock and life-saving protective irrigation.

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