Day 02::Thematic Session 05

Day 02::Thematic Session 05

Legal framework, policy, strategy and challenges related to rainwater harvesting

Bangladesh Convention on Rainwater Harvesting
Hotel Ruposhi Bangla, Dhaka,
15 to 17 June 2012


This session’s theme was ‘Legal framework, policy, strategy and challenges related to rainwater harvesting. The paper presenter were: Mr.Syed Azizul Haq, Ms. Charushree Nakarmi, Mr. Brendan Cronin, Mr. Zahid Hossain.

The chairperson and moderator was Dr. M. Feroze Ahmed. Following are the synthesis of the deliberations:

Paper 1: Rainwater Harvesting in Buildings: Initiatives, Challenges and Ways Forward by Mr.Syed Azizul Haq.

Challenges in Rainwater Harvesting in Building: Some of the major reasons for which rainwater harvesting system in buildings is yet to be well addressed, have been furnished below:-

• Lack of awareness and knowledge

• Lack of policy, regulations and guidelines

• Absence of regulatory department

• Weakness in realistic water supply and pricing

• Shortage of resources

Way Forward: Building awareness and knowledge: following measures can be taken for this purpose-

 People shall be made aware of rainwater harvesting in their building through various formal or informal motivation and advocacy programs.

 All the Engineering and technological institutions shall include rainwater harvesting system in their academic and training curriculum.

 Researchers shall devote themselves more in developing economic rainwater storage systems for various infrastructures.

Formulating policy, regulations and guidelines:

Following some salient regulations may be imposed and policy may be taken:

o Offering tax rebate and financial support to the building owners or developers for developing rainwater harvesting system in their buildings.

o Proportioning use of surface water, ground water and rainwater. Recycled wastewater use may also be included. Priority on surface water and rainwater use shall be given in the policy.

o Building regulatory authorities shall furnish exclusive guidelines for where how and what type of rainwater harvesting system shall be developed.

o Provisions for manmade or natural water bodies shall made mandatory for particular project area.

o Use of supplied water in swimming pool, fountains etc. shall be discouraged. through imposing comparatively high tangible charges for incorporating those recreational elements.

o Where ground water depletion is more than 1 meter per year ground recharging shall be made mandatory in every building premise there.

o In updated BNBC there should be a dedicated chapter exclusively on rainwater management.

Supplying wholesome water and realistic pricing:

o No water supply authorities can satisfy the basic norms of urban water supply.

If they would supply satisfying all those parameters of urban water supply then the price of supplied water would much more than the price presently is being charged.

o The water supply authorities actually fix the water tariff below than its actual cost incurred to reach the customers.

o The price of minimum quantity of water required for healthy living of a human being shall be fixed judiciously considering socio economic condition. For consuming more water beyond this minimum limit of water comparatively excessive higher water pricing shall be asked for.

o Two or more slabs of water pricing shall be enforced by the water supply authorities to discourage use of excess water. Then the affluent building owners will go for rainwater harvesting to run more water use.

Managing resources:

o To encourage developing rainwater harvesting in buildings some form of financial support from the government should be made available in the following ways.

o Interest free loan from the concern public financial institutions. Water tariff may be subsidized for development of rainwater harvesting system.

Closing remarks:

In order to get benefits of rainwater harvesting some compulsory regulatory measures are to be imposed in the building development process along with building up awareness. Various challenges and problems are to be identified and pragmatic remedial measures are to be formulated. To establish development of rainwater harvesting system in buildings a Building Regulatory Office is to be established which will ensure the proper development of building infrastructures along with incorporation of rainwater harvesting system in the buildings where applicable. Rainwater harvesting in buildings involves additional investment while ground recharging do not directly benefit the investors. The building developers are to be obligated and financially supported to popularize rainwater harvesting system in buildings in urban areas.

Paper 2: Micro-financing Rainwater Harvesting in Nepal: Modality and Challenges by Ms.Charushree Nakarmi

Ms Nakarmi described that access to RWH system can be greatly enhanced if people also have access to microfinance loans to acquire these systems. Microfinance Institutes (MFIs) are providing credit to the farmers for various purposes including loan for construction of biogas plants. In this perspective Rainwater Harvesting Capacity Centre (RHCC) together with RAIN Foundation, the Netherlands has initiated piloting of MF in the RWH program in Nepal. Ms.Nakarmi mentioned on her presentation the main reasons for involving the MFIs in RWH:

• Funding from Government is limited

• Absence of Commercial Banks and reduced and redefined donor funding.

• Outreach is main feature of MFI

• Easy to get loan and with very simple procedure.

• Accessibility of loan is more important than interest rate.

• MF is a gender oriented poverty focus activity

• Poor people are client not beneficiary

• MF serves poor people not rich people providing loan without taking collateral

• High outreach/Member based which helps for bulk promotion

• MFI which provide door to door services of fund delivery and collection.

Processes of evolving MF:

Step 1: Household Survey; Step 2: Well being ranking, Step 3: Identification of Potential Members, Step 4: Training on Group Formation, Step 5 : Formation of Member Groups 7-10 groups together form a centre; Step 6: Each Branch selects a Group Leader; Step 7: Saving schemes; Step 8: Guarantee Provision; Step 9: Loan Disbursement; Step 10: Loan repayment.

Financing for a RWH System of 10m3 Plant cost approx.50000/- NPR -Loan Amount varying for condition.

Challenges for MF are as Follows:

Acceptance of RWH as a feasible trade commodity for the MFIs

• Monitoring and quality control of the process and product at every phase of the project

• Availing necessary information on RWH with respect to its utility, benefits, areas of precaution and its limitations

• Creating enabling conditions for repay the loans provided within the given period through multiple of the RWH

• Market research and demand assessments are needed to identify potential size of the market and to develop a clear delivery mechanism.

• Enhance service delivery and reduce the delivery time (construction, after sales, time, etc)

Way Forward:

• Address measures for high initial investment costs of the RWH system;

• Awareness creation to enhance level of knowledge about RWH among MFIs;

• Induce business motivation in RWH to increase lending

• Improve understanding of RWH costs, benefits among clients;

• Advocacy and lobbying for affirmative policies within local and central government as well as financing policies relating to the RWH sector

• Specific roles and responsibilities for Program Implementing organisation, MFI, implementing partners and construction agencies.

Paper 3: Enterprise-Based Delivery to Promote Uptake of Rainwater Harvesting by Mr. Brendan Cronin

Mr. Cronin introduce with the audience –The BoB TM Rain Water Bag which is 1400 Liters Portable Flexible bag manufactured for less than $25. This paper looks at critical aspects of enterprise-based delivery as a means to promote uptake of rainwater harvesting in otherwise water stressed areas.

The bobTM rainwater bag is a unique and innovative solution to the high direct and indirect costs of existing water storage technologies. In addition to a relatively low purchase price, the retail package dimensions are only slightly larger than a common jerry can, effectively eliminating the additional cost and burden of transport. The assembled dimensions require no more space than a comparably sized poly tank. Assembly and disassembly require no specialized skills and further allows the household to move the product from one location to another as necessary. Installation options are very flexible and allow the household to decide what additional resources they want to invest.


Mr. Cronin said that significant challenges do remain. To date, the commercialization of the bobTM rainwater bag has generated a very high degree of interest and awareness in the product and has resulted in over 1000 units sold since March 2011. Sales figures however continue to lag far behind what the degree of interest would suggest. Primary barriers to converting interest to the decision to purchase appear to be price, availability, and the perceived vulnerability of the rainwater bag. Current strategies for reducing the purchasing burden include promotional sales, voucher lotteries, manufacturing cost reduction, import duty waivers, and credit opportunities. Availability is being improved by direct marketing to interest groups such as farmer’s associations, church assemblies, and community self-help organizations. The perceived vulnerability of the product (and subsequent loss of value) is due mainly to its composition of flexible materials and is most effectively mitigated by physically demonstrating its capabilities and recruiting satisfied customers to testify to its benefits.


Enterprise-based delivery as a development concept seeks to achieve sustainability through profit. Though challenging and not replicable in every environment, a successful for-profit business model and innovative product solutions such as the bobTM rainwater bag necessarily address the major barriers to rainwater harvesting uptake including affordability, acceptability, feasibility, and sustainability.

• Manufacturer -Currently BOB is manufactured in China

• Importer / National Distributor -Currently Relief International / Enterprise Works is acting in this role

• Regional / Local Dealers -Relief International is supplying orders directly to Regional / Local Dealers

• Retail Shops -Currently 31 outlets carry BOB, and can be identified by signs in their windows

• Consumer -Sales to end users totals 815 per the last sales report.

Solution for challenges:

Promotions, cost reductions duty, waivers and credit opportunities, direct sale to interest groups.

BOBTM in Bangladesh: (Target market)

o 93.5% of population without access to piped water (UN 2008).

o 20.1% of population without access to improved water (UN 2008).

o 6.7% of households with hard roofs (SAARC 2008).

o Estimate over 2,000,000 household’s total potential.

o Estimate over 450,000 households target market.

o Partnerships with government and NGO have to increase incidence of improved roofs and access to target market

o Local/regional manufacturing to eliminate/reduce import and shipping costs

o Integration into existing supply chain or BOBTM outlets

Paper 4: Reducing water crises burden of women and policy analysis by Mr. Zahid Hossain

Mr. Hossain mainly focused on assessment of burden of women due to water crisis, increasing the daily work load due to water collection and then focused on how the issues of rainwater harvesting could be ingrained in the relevant policy and strategy documents to overcome this situation.

Policy/ Strategy:

Mr. Hossain gave an overview of different policies and strategies related to rainwater harvesting. The existing policies and strategies are as follows;

1. National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy 1998

2. National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation 2004

3. Pro Poor Strategy for Water and Sanitation

4. Local Government Pourashava Act 2009

5. Bangladesh: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

6. National Water Policy 1999

7. Coastal Zone Policy 2005

8. Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009

9. National Education Policy 2010.

All of these policies and strategies have prioritized to strengthening the focus on women’s right and advancement, making governance work for the poor and for women, reducing risk and vulnerability, and social protection.

Existing practice

The current trends shows that during budget allocation Pourashava/Union Parishad do not keep budget for RWHS installation, limited campaigning or awareness on RWH by Local Government, DPHE and LGED are inclined to install Tube well but no coordinated performance and monitoring are noticed on RWHS.


• Encourage policies to reduce dependence on groundwater in arsenic prone and low WT area and extend RWH systems

• Ground water monitoring and disseminate the result

• Recharging the aquifer by rainwater

• Encourage the architect to include RWH system in design.

• Promote use of rain water and for this initiate campaign like “use rainwater save groundwater”.

• Allocate budget for RWHS in any water supply project

• Change mind set of the relevant stakeholders, awareness about Rain water uses among the users, service providers and policy makers