Water Sanitation Health

Rainwater harvesting

The draft text is now available for review. Comments are welcome following the format on the comment sheet, below.

Comments on the text should be sent before 15 May 2007 to gdwqrainwater@who.int.

Rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality

Rainwater harvesting is included in the plan of work of the rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality.

Background

Rainwater harvesting is in use in many countries throughout the world. Rainwater collected and used on-site can supplement or replace other sources of household water. Rainwater can also be used as drinking-water if it is properly treated before use. The Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality Final Task Force meeting (Geneva, 2003) identified safe rainwater harvesting as an important omission from the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality and requested that a text to address it be developed as soon as possible. The WHO Regions (e.g. SEARO and WPRO) have expressed considerable interest in this area.

Expected end-product(s)

  • Additional text for chapter 6 of the GDWQ, for inclusion in the second addendum to the Third Edition
  • Additional text woven throughout the early chapters of the GDWQ, for inclusion in the Fourth Edition
  • Stand-alone document providing technical guidance on stability, storage and monitoring of rainwater and information on health concerns associated with rainwater harvesting systems

Progress to date

As of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality Working Group meeting (Geneva, 2005), no progress had been made on the preparation of a separate document on rainwater harvesting. The Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality Working Group meeting (Geneva, 2006) approved the additional text for chapter 6 of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, with amendments, for inclusion in the second addendum to the Third Edition.

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