International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
USA - June 1982
3: Design, Cost, And Policy
Assessment Of Rainwater
Catchment and Storage Systems on Majuro
A. Stephenson, Hiro Kurushina, & Stephen J. Winter
University of Guam, USA
This paper focuses on a discussion of freshwater supply systems in Micronesia.
Particular attention is paid to the conditions within a small Micronesian atoll
environment of the Marshall Islands, the village of Laura on Majuro atoll.
Initial fieldwork during July to August 1981 revealed that a paradox exists
between the abundant availability of fresh water as rain water and ground-water
on the one hand, and frequent shortages o£ fresh water, on the other. In
the course of earlier field research by Winter and Stephenson (1981) in the Eastern
Caroline Islands, Micronesia, the same paradoxical condition was found to exist.
We suggest that the paradox exists because of an inadequate management of water
supply and water storage systems in Micronesia. We further suggest that economic,
technical and social factors may be related to this phenomenon. The paper describes
the study area in the Marshalls, discusses local water supply and storage systems,
examines attitudes towards the use of groundwater versus rainwater catchment,
and attempts to explain why rain water is not utilized , more extensively than
it is. The paper concludes that, as water consumption is most likely to increase
along with modernization in Micronesia, government plans should provide for increased
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