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9th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999

Section 2: Wordwide Experiences of Rainwater Catchment Systems

Paper 2.3

Rainwater Catchment in the Loess Plateau of Gansu, China and its Significance

Zhu Qiang & Li Yuanhong
Gansu Research Institute for Water Conservancy
Lanzhou 730000, China


China has been facing serious water shortage problems causing great economic and environmental losses. Water conditions are even worse in the Loess Plateau of Gansu in the Northwest and North of the country where runoff and groundwater are very scarce. Agriculture in this region relies mainly on rain and large sections of the population have suffered from lack of water for centuries. This is one of China's poorest areas. To promote social and economic development and to improve peoples' lives, it is essential to change water conditions. The only potential water source in this area is rain. Starting in 1988 efficient rainwater harvesting techniques had been tested. From 1995 to 1996, the local government implemented a "121" rainwater catchment project, providing 1.2 million people with access to drinking water. A follow-up rainwater harvesting irrigation project has been carried out to change the basic agricultural conditions in the area. The Gansu experience shows that rainwater catchment and utilization can provide an effective means to alleviate poverty and a breakthrough for farming in arid zones.

PDF of full document (8pp, 35kb)

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