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Rainwater harvesting: a lifeline for human well-being
The aim of this report is to compile a synthesis of experiences that can provide insight into the multiple opportunities rainwater harvesting can have when addressing human well-being, while continuing to sustain a range of ecosystem services. This synthesis of linkages between ecosystem services, human well-being and rainwater harvesting interventions examines 29 cases from diverse economic and environmental settings.
Water supply of the right quality and quantity is essential for productive ecosystems and human well-being. The increasing demand on water resources for development whilst maintaining healthy ecosystems puts water resources under pressure.
Rainwater harvesting is an intervention that enables development and human well-being without undermining ecosystem services. Rainwater harvesting is a local intervention that improves equity, gender balance and strengthens social capital in
Rainwater harvesting is discussed from an ecosystem perspective and has positive benefits in both rural and urban areas. It employs a variety of methods to better manage water resources for many purposes including more water for domestic supply and for increased crop production. It also regulates and supports the ecosystem by reducing soil erosion, improving groundwater and spring supplies and increasing diversity among flora and fauna. In urban areas, pressure for ground and surface water is reduced.
Nevertheless, the implementation of rainwater harvesting should be limited in areas subject to water stress. Additional rainwater harvesting may affect other uses of water so assessment of impacts on ecosystem services and human well-being is needed.
In all cases studied, positive effects were mentioned in at least one of the four categories of poverty, income, health and gender. Negative impacts were mentioned in relation to heath, gender, and equity of labour. An additional positive effect for rainwater harvesting interventions was for rural domestic and agricultural uses as it built human and social capital.
Rainwater harvesting gives increased opportunities to manage all water resources and is a coping strategy in areas with variable rainfall. It should be seen as an important component in water management strategies and plans and as a complementary and viable alternative to large scale water use in emerging water-stressed basins.
Produced by: United Nations [UN] Environment Programme (2009)
Information Provided by Carol Lombard, Department of Social Development Population Website
Submitted by carol on 1 September 2009 - 11:20am. categories [ ]