Professor M Feroze Ahmed, Vice Chancellor of Stamford University presented the keynote paper at the convention. He said only rainwater could meet the need of drinking water if preserved properly. “On an average, Bangladesh needs 160 billion cubic meter of water for drinking purpose while the yearly average rainfall is 200 to 250 billion cubic meter”, he added.

Arsenic mitigation and other groundwater related complexities could be reduced through rainwater harvesting, the speaker further explained.

Dr Md Khairul Islam, Country Representative of WaterAid Bangladesh; M Abu Sadeque, PEng, Director, Housing and Building Research Institute, Ministry of Housing and Public Works; and Dr Abu Sayeed M Ahmed, President, Institute of Architects Bangladesh were also present at the occasion.

“We need acknowledge that by 2021, we will face an acute scale of crisis for water. To combat the situation, we need a comprehensive national capacity”, said the Dr Khairul Islam.

President of the Institute of Architects Bangladesh, Sayeed M Ahmed said, “We can’t go back to our previous and natural stage but we have to ensure that we enact proper laws to preserve the water sources what we have now”.

The Director of House and Building Research Institute, Abu Sadque pressed for opting local based research to develop the know-how. “People from outside our context can’t understand the reality. We need to develop context-suitable invention for water management towards a sustainable solution”.

Eight specialized study papers highlighting technical and social aspects of rainwater harvesting were presented at the convention.  Discussants also urged for incorporating rainwater harvesting in policies and strategies including Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC). A wide range of professionals including researchers, architects, engineers, community leaders, development organizations and students participated in the event.