International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
"Rainwater Catchment for Future Generations"
Keelung, Taiwan, R.O.C. - August 1991
10: Country Reports and Future Outlooks
Systems For Drinking Water Supply In China
Inst. of Environmental Health & Engineering, CAPM, China
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
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