Newsletter and Technical Publications
Rainwater Harvesting And Utilisation
An Environmentally Sound Approach for Sustainable
Urban Water Management: An Introductory Guide for Decision-Makers
Profile of Sumida City
Sumida City encompasses an area of 13.75 km2, located in the eastern part
of Tokyo and surrounded by the Sumida and Arakawa Rivers. The population
of Sumida City is 225,935 (as of December 2001). In 1923, the Great Kanto
Earthquake hit Sumida City, and 48,400 Sumida City residents died in a
huge fire. Again in 1945, the city was completely burnt down by bombing
raids during the Second World War.
Sumida City became involved in rainwater utilization projects in 1982.
Since then, Sumida City Government has been promoting rainwater utilization
in cooperation with its citizens. The Tokyo International Rainwater Utilization
Conference (TIRUC), organized by citizens and the Sumida City Government,
entitled Rainwater Utilization Saves the Earth - Form a Friendship
with Raindrops in Urban Areas, was held in Sumida City in August
After TIRUC, the Sumida City Government produced guidelines and subsidy
program for rainwater utilization, in 1995. To date, 300 rainwater tanks
have been installed in Sumida City, achieving a total rainwater reservoir
capacity of 9000 m3. In 1996, the Sumida City Government organized the
Rainwater Utilization Liaison Council for Local Governments. 104 local
governments in Japan have joined this council in order to exchange policy
ideas and experiences related to rainwater utilization. Sumida City's
rainwater utilization projects were selected as an example of "best
practice" by the G8 Environmental Futures Forum 2000, and also received
an excellence award from ICLEI for "Local Initiatives" in 2000.
Rainwater Museum in Sumida
The Rainwater Museum is the first facility of its kind in the world. PPRU
incorporated five key exhibit designs in the museum. The first is a pumpkin-shaped
rainwater tank, which serves as the symbol of the Rainwater Museum. A symbolic
message is written on this tank courtesy of the Lanka Rainwater Harvesting
Forum (Sri Lanka): "Problem: Water, Solution: Rainwater". Another
key exhibit is "Rainwater Crisis", which focuses on water shortages
and flooding in urban areas in the 21st Century. The third exhibit provides
an introduction to the study of rainwater utilization not only in Japan,
but around the World. The fourth exhibit, "Rainwater Utilization Systems",
shows collection systems, various types of rainwater tanks, etc. Finally,
the fifth main exhibit area is "Thinking Spots". This creative
corner provides a space for thinking about the importance of rainwater.
Profile of People for
Promoting Rainwater Utilization (PPRU)
PPRU plans to create an International Rain Center to help solve the problems
associated with the water crisis in the 21st Century and to promote a rain
culture around the world. It will serve as the basis for an international network
where information, ideas and experiences related to rainwater utilization can
be shared. Included in this international network will be citizens, businesses
and public officials.
The promotion of rainwater utilization and a rain culture requires acting
locally, and thinking globally. In May 2001, the world's first Rainwater Museum
was opened in Sumida City, Tokyo, Japan. City officials of Sumida City commissioned
PPRU to create the museum in a vacant primary school in cooperation with the
Japan Businesses Association for Rainwater Utilization. The museum presents
a wealth of information on rainwater and rain culture from around the world.
In December 2001, PPRU published a Rain Encyclopedia. PPRU has plans to translate
this Encyclopedia from Japanese into English and publish the English version.
After its publication, PPRU is planning to initiate an International Rain Encyclopedia
project in cooperation with other countries.