Water expert calls for more collection of rainfall

2013_04_watercollectionIn the early 2000s, a stifling heat blanketed many parts of Korea for months, triggering severe water shortages especially in rural areas and islands. The prolonged drought had put top water expert Han Moo-young at bay by “depriving him of the stuff to treat,” as he put it. But it was also a watershed moment in his career as it brought home to the engineering professor at Seoul National University the worth of a very basic component of nature: rain.

“Then it finally rained for such a long time, but people didn’t like it because it makes you wet and causes inconvenience,” he said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald. “In contrast, I thought I would do some work with rainfall possibly to reuse it later. But it turned out there was nothing much to treat because the water quality was really good.”

Then he began delving into a technology called rainwater harvesting, where rain is collected from relatively clean surfaces such as rooftops, rocks or the ground and stored for later use. In 2001, Han set up the Rainwater Research Center, a first of its kind here, at SNU where he teaches civil and environmental engineering. He has since then been advising central and local governments in Korea and proving free consultations for agencies and institutions in water-scarce developing countries to help them adopt the method.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

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