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

Section 3: Design, Cost, And Policy

Page 158

Assessment Of Rainwater Catchment and Storage Systems on Majuro

Rebecca 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 water supply.

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