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December 18,1999

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Rain-Water Harvesting Association Established

ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 18 (ENA) – An Ethiopian Rain-water Harvesting Association (ERHA) has just been established here with the aim of helping raise the quality, distribution and effective utilization of rain—water in the country.

At a founding conference held at Imperial Hotel here yesterday the interim committee of the association that had been working for the stated objective said the main reason for the foundation was that rain-water had been identified as a potential source for domestic use and production purpose.  It had specifically been found to be "a very feasible option" in places where underground and surface water sources are limited.  It was also noted that it would be more successful and effective when practiced at small-scale levels.

A release from the association says that although there is a long history of rain-water use in Ethiopia, it could contribute for development as expected neither before nor today.

It says at present only 20 per cent of the Ethiopian society has access to potable water.  "To change the use of this very small trend of distribution, rain-water utilization should be developed as of paramount importance in addition to spring, river, underground, and Lake Water."  It is also an essential "unit of resource" in developing the agricultural sector.  "Therefor, giving much attention and developing systems of rain-water usage is very essential for this country," the release said.

Ato Habtamu Gessese, who presented a prepared statement, said that rain-water is the cheapest of other water sources for utilization.  It is useful not only for household but also to conserve soil, underground water, and other development projects, he stated.

Dr. Admasu Gebeyehu, chairman of the interim committee, noted that creating awareness among the public, particularly the peasants, and doing research on the usual use could be very essential to devise new methods for the effective utilization of rain-water.

Participants, having discussed in detail the proposed administration bill of the association, endorsed it with certain amendments.

Attending the founding conference were employees of governmental and non-governmental offices and representatives of the private sector.  They included water, irrigation and agricultural engineers, soil and water conservation professionals, underground water experts, environmental protection professionals, civil, construction and mechanical engineers and other natural and social science professionals.