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".

In Northeastern Brazil most research, especially in rainwater harvesting for agriculture, was done by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Center for the Semi-Arid Tropics - CPATSA. But the methods themselves were spread out by a movement of rural people who understood the possibilities available in a semiarid climate and who knew how to make the necessary adaptations.
Rainwater harvesting plants like cacti or the umbuzeiro, which retains rainwater in its potato-roots (Fig.11) are the best examples of plants for people how to live in a semiarid region. Following nature, the rural people started constructing cisterns and implanting sub-surface impoundments on gentle slopes near their villages.
Women played an important role in this process: they have been the ones who had to provide and manage the water use of households. They are fetching water from distant points or watering the vegetable garden. Therefore they want and need to be included in everything that relates to improving the water supply. On a local scale, women are the water managers, responsible for its collection and distribution (Fig 12).
Today rural workers unions and NGOs play an important role in the organization, the carrying out and financing of rainwater harvesting projects. Throughout Brazil's semiarid region, these workers and their organizations are trying to convince politicians at a local and a state level of the possibility of sustainable development for the region, excluding the necessity for big irrigation projects from rivers or groundwater.