Johann Gnadlinger, Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil
IRCSA - International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, Vice-President
IRPAA - Regional Institute for Appropriate Small-Scale Agriculture, Water and Climate Section
Paper presented during the 2nd World Water Forum, The Hague, The Netherlands, March 16 - 22, 2000

Rainwater harvesting will make an important contribution to resolving water shortages in the future. For at least three millennia, people across the world have harvested rainwater for household, livestock and agricultural uses, but rainwater harvesting has become more and more neglected since the advent of large centralized water supply systems, in spite of their high energy input and serious environmental problems. Rainwater harvesting can be as simple as a small dam to stop water flooding off a slope or as technically advanced as a reservoir that catch rainwater for drinking and agriculture. It offers a wealth of promising possibilities for developing and developed countries. In this paper there is outlined the use of rainwater harvesting for drinking purposes and agriculture, especially in semi-arid regions like the Brazilian Semi-Arid Tropics. What is needed is the political will to implement the system and ensure the widest possible distribution of both technologies and the water they gather. We believe that rainwater has to go in alliance with river and groundwater as equivalent freshwater resources.


1. Introduction

2. The concept of rainwater catchment systems technology is as old as the mountains - The history of rainwater harvesting

3. Why is there a decrease of rainwater harvesting systems in the world?

4. But now at the beginning of the 21st century the situation is quite different

5. The technology of rainwater harvesting systems is known, but "what is most needed is the moral acceptance of the technology and the political will to implement the systems".

6. Outlook for the near future (2025)

7. Conclusion