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10th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater International 2001"
Mannheim, Germany - September 2001

Section 5: Legal and Political Aspects of Rainwater Harvesting

Paper 5.16

Action Research on Rainwater Harvesting in Bangladesh

S.M.A. Rashid
Executive Director
NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation,


NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation (NGO Forum) implemented the first year of its "Action Research on Rainwater Harvesting in Bangladesh" in April 2001. This action research exclusively dealt with the rainwater harvesting related issues and was implemented covering only eight villages of two thanas (sub-districts) falling under Rajshahi district in western Bangladesh. Agriculture is the main occupation of 75% villagers, while the rest are either businessmen or service holders. People are generally conservative, and both the sexes maintained defined roles in society. Widely known as the "low-water table area", the project areas are reported to be severely arsenic affected. From the available data, it is found that the average annual rainfall of those areas is around 1400 millimetres, where 75% fall between the months of April and October. Prior to the intervention made by NGO Forum, groundwater was used as the sole source of drinking water in those areas. The villagers did not have any clear concept about the usefulness of rainwater harvesting. Taking all these issues into consideration, the action research was launched with the aim of demonstrating that rainwater harvesting can provide a suitable, safe, socially acceptable and sustainable alternative source of water for drinking and cooking for 8-10 months of the year. The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  • to assess technical requirements for the construction of efficient rainwater harvesting systems; to test and improve upon existing models (especially with respect to cost effective tank design for various sizes); to consider the role of private sector and the householder in establishing the facility; 
  • to demonstrate, test and promote rainwater harvesting systems in arsenic affected areas through participatory strategies;  
  • to introduce and test "do-it-yourself" models for the hardcore poor; 
  • to monitor and document the construction and performance of the rainwater harvesting systems in terms of user acceptance and user friendliness, water quality, water security and general system management; 
  • to develop construction manuals and procedures for implementation of rainwater harvesting systems as an option in rural water supply.

PDF of full document (3pp, 27kb)

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