1. Best practices in different hydro-geological contexts focusing recharge of groundwater and reuse of rainwater
Bangladesh receives annual average rainfall of 2150 mm which is almost three times more than the world average of 800 mm. But the potentiality of this huge rainfall remains mostly unutilized since using rainwater for drinking and other household usages is still not socially and technologically very familiar in Bangladesh.
Papers could focus on how to address the institutional, socio-economic, environmental or technological barriers in different contexts and describe the factors for success considering the issue of recharge of groundwater and reuse of rainwater through harvesting.
2. Rainwater harvesting in (urban areas, coastal belts, drought prone hilly areas and water logged parts of the city)
Unplanned urbanization along with industrialization, rapid population growth, lack of planning and implementation triggered the phenomenon of water scarcity in the cities and towns of the country. Over-extraction and lack of natural recharge have been identified as the key reasons for declination of groundwater table. The source of safe drinking water is limited in the coastal areas of Bangladesh, particularly in the South-Western part of the country. In many places in the coastal belt, the level of salinity and arsenic contamination in the shallow aquifer is intolerably high for human consumption. A significant portion of the poor indigenous communities living in the remote hilly areas having inadequate access to safe water supply. While countrywide access to safe water is 86%, only 60% of people in the hilly areas have access to safe water which drastically reduces to only 4% in the dry season.
Paper could focus on proper utilization of rainwater and its potentiality of meeting many of the challenges being faced by the urban areas, coastal belts, drought prone, hilly areas as well as water logged parts of the city in relation to increase uses of rainwater harvesting.
3. Rainwater harvesting for promoting artificial recharge to encounter the loss of waterbodies due to encroachment
Waterbodies are natural means for recharging of groundwater. Rapid urbanization led to massive encroachment and pollution of the existing waterbodies in most of the cities. The paved area in Dhaka city has been increased by more than 300 times since 1960 causing significant reduction in natural groundwater recharge. At the same time, filling up of canals, ponds and other water bodies obstructing natural drainage systems. As a consequence, even little rainfall causes massive water congestion. Time has come to promote rainwater harvesting coupled with recharging groundwater to encounter urban water crisis and protect the environment.
Papers could include issues like artificial recharge compensating loss of waterbodies and encroachment especially in urban context.
4. Rainwater harvesting in Arsenic prone areas
According to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), water supply coverage increased from 78% in 1990 to 98% in 2006 in Bangladesh. However, Arsenic contamination in the groundwater has lowered this coverage to 78%. The latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS, 2009) revealed that access to improved source of drinking water adjusted for arsenic contamination has increased to 86% which means in other word that about 20 million people of the country is still at risk of drinking water containing arsenic above the acceptable level (50 μg/L).
Papers could highlight promotion of rainwater harvesting systems in Arsenic prone areas as alternative water supply provisions. It may include the issues and challenges of technical feasibility, economic viability, social acceptability and sustainability aspects of rainwater harvesting systems.
5. Legal framework, policy, strategy and challenges related to rainwater harvesting
For promotion of rainwater harvesting at national level, it needs to be ingrained in the relevant policy and strategic documents. To do so, professionals and policy makers have to be sensitized along with mass population. Research outputs need to be linked with implementation and ultimately should be tied up to the policy perspectives. This is really challenging in the context of existing capacity of sector. However, it is essential to explore ways and means to take up the issues of rainwater harvesting at policy level and highlight the potentials for linking policy and practices.
Papers could focus on how the issues of rainwater harvesting could be ingrained in the relevant policy and strategic documents and highlight the challenges with scopes for encountering the same.