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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 574

Rain Water Harvesting Systems In Southern Africa

John M Erskine
University of Natal, South Africa


Poor water supplies and sanitation services continue to be critical problems in the less developed rural areas of southern Africa despite considerable effort to improve and expand access. It is widely recognized that safe, easily available water supplies provided in a form acceptable to the communities concerned are essential for rural development.

Most rural communities depend on local sources of water which are available naturally - river water, open wells and springs - and these are frequently polluted. Not nearly enough use is made of rain water collection systems.

This paper describes the research and development work conducted on rain water harvesting systems in southern Africa in recent years. A case study is referred to for the purpose of illustrating the approach being used to meet the water needs of communities in some less developed rural areas for domestic as well as agricultural use, with particular reference to the introduction of simple, cost effective rain water harvesting technologies. The approach emphasizes the need for attention to be given to community involvement, through appropriate institutional arrangements, in choosing suitable technologies.

PDF of full document (12pp,410kb)

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