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5th International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
"Rainwater Catchment for Future Generations"
Keelung, Taiwan, R.O.C. - August 1991

Section 10: Country Reports and Future Outlooks

Page 568

Rainwater Harvesting Systems For Drinking Water Supply In China

Ling Bo
Inst. of Environmental Health & Engineering, CAPM, China

Liu Jiayi
The Office of National Patriotic Health Campaign Committee, China


Rainwater has been harvested and used for domestic water supply in area lacking good alternative water sources, especially in loess plateau of the northwest China.

There the rainwater harvesting system in general;, consists of ground catchment area, collecting drain, silt trap, sedimentation tank, screen and water cellar.

The initial cost for 20 m3 storage volume was equivalent to U.S. Dollar 35 that could be afforded by a farm family in general. In China, rainwater cistern systems have been mainly used for domestic water supply in rural areas where groundwater is unfit for human consumption, such as bitter brine water in Northwest plateau or surface water is heavy polluted with wastewater discharged from the village enterprises in Southeast coast. The cost of purification for facilities, maintenance and operation would be extremely high due to the advanced treatment: processes have to be applied for those water sources. Rainwater has been, therefore, harvested and used popularly for domestic water supply in areas lacking good alternative water sources especially in loess plateau of the Northwest, where annual rainfall is pretty low, only 316mm,and its 64% is concentrated, between July and September each year. There the groundwater either containing a great number of minerals, is too bitter to drink, or too deep to withdraw, otherwise, surface water is very seldom and too far to transport, more than 10 km from the water source to the consumers. The deep wells with the high lift pump have been, on trial built in some areas, but it ceased because too high cost to operate in comparison with very low output for drinking water supply. Seeing that, more than 0.2 million cement.

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