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Reining in the Rain
Makoto Murase pioneered urban rainwater recycling in Japan. Now he's spreading efforts into freshwater-starved regions.
Where many see rain as a nuisance, Japan’s Makoto Murase sees a freshwater resource for millions.
The World Health Organization estimates nearly 800 million people lack access to safe, clean drinking water. In Bangladesh alone, nearly 40 million people in rural villages are forced to either buy water or spend hours fetching it from polluted ponds.
But Murase, a world authority on rainwater recycling, is aiming to change that.
Educated as a pharmacologist, Murase is a former career civil servant who worked in a municipal environmental protection department in Sumida City, a district in east Tokyo where sewers frequently flooded during the rainy season. In the early 1980s, he pioneered the recycling of urban rainwater when he designed a water recovery system that