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2nd International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
St Thomas, Virgin Islands - June, 1984

Section G: Institutional Issues

Paper G.2

Rainwater Cisterns: Legal, Institutional, And Policy Considerations

William R. Walker, Phyllis G. Bridgeman
Virginia Water Resources Research Center, USA

Introduction

Rainwater catchment systems once were a standard source of water supply in this country before central water systems became common. Drought-prone areas or areas where water use is outstripping supplies could benefit from a reexamination of this alternative, which may delay costly development of a new raw water source or expansion of a central treatment system. Monetary incentives to develop rainwater cisterns as a supplemental, seasonal, temporary, or emergency water source may be a more advantageous use of public funds.

The use of rainwater cisterns in developed countries presents some legal, institutional and political considerations not necessary for the less developed areas of the world where having useable water is the primary concern. The incorporation of cistern use into an existing legal/institutional system raises such concerns as interference with existing financial arrangements, rights to cistern water stored underground, and public health concerns for cistern water quality. The social and economic benefits and costs of adding cistern use to the list of conservation options requested or required by public water supply systems should be weighed in advance of the problems which a piecemeal approach could generate.

PDF of full document (10pp, 240kb)


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