3rd Bangladesh Convention on Rainwater Harvesting
WaterAid Bangladesh in collaboration with International Training Network (ITN-BUET), Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) India and RAiN Forum has organised the 3rd Bangladesh Convention on Rainwater Harvesting (RWH). The day-long convention took place on 9 March, 2017 at city’s Lakeshore Hotel with the aim of promoting rainwater harvesting as a sustainable solution to water scarcity, and explore ideas, technological potentials, practices and experiences on RWH.
Md Shahid Ullah Khandaker, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Public Works has graced the inaugural session of the conference as chief guest, H.E. Johan Frisell, the Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh was present as the Special Guest, Dr. Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment, India delivered the keynote speech and Dr Md Khairul Islam delivered the welcome speech.
In the day-long convention with over 150 national and international participants from different public, private and non-government organizations engaged in dialogue towards RWH. The chief guest of the convention, Mr. Md Shahid Ullah Khandaker, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Public Works in his speech said, “Water is the basic element to save our living ground-the earth. Rain distributes water across the world. But rapid growth of population, urbanization, climate change is contaminating the surface and ground water. Arsenic contamination, saline water in coastal areas, excessive lifting of surface water is causing water crisis. We know rain is the main source of surface and ground water, and there is now alternate to utilizing this resource to save our lives and trees in the world. “
Special guest H.E. Johan Frisell, the Ambassador of Sweden in Bangladesh said, “We face many challenges every day. Water is a major problem among them which we cann’t ignore. To mitigate the water shortage and management problem rainwater harvesting could play a vital role.“
Keynote speaker Dr. Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment, India said “In the early age, ground water of Bangladesh and India was recharged from the rain water. But due to climate change rainfall has decreased. So we will have to use each rain drops in the rainy season. We have to harvest rainwater in the pond of rural areas and cities in roof top.’ She added, if we properly harvest rainwater then we could avoid flood in the rainy season.
Dr Md Khairul Islam in his welcome speech said, ‘RWH is a practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solution to many of the issues surrounding water management in Bangladesh, and can not only mitigate water scarcity, but contribute to increased resilience against climate change, reducing waterlogging, and restoring water-related ecosystems.
Prof. Dr. Feroze Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, Stamford University Bangladesh; and Dr ABM Badruzzaman, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) were present in the convention as Session Chairs and Dr. Toufiq M Seraj, Managing Director, Sheltech Pvt. Ltd; Mr Arjen Naafs, Regional Technical Advisor-South Asia, WaterAid UK; Dr. M Ashraf Ali, Director, International Training Network, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (ITN-BUET); Dr Mahreen Matto, Programme Manager, Water Management Centre for Science and Environment, India; Dr Kazi Matin U Ahmed, Professor, Department of Geology, University of Dhaka and Mr Arnoud Keizer, Consultant, Rain Foundation, Netharlands presented relevant papers in both of the sessions.
All the presenters in the convention focused on the best practices of rainwater harvesting; geographical context specific challenges of rainwater harvesting; rainwater and quality issues in different geographic locations; legal framework, policy, strategy and challenges of rainwater harvesting and technological options and innovations in rainwater harvesting.
WaterAid Bangladesh and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) India have been organising capacity enhancement programs on urban rainwater harvesting since 2010.
The joint endeavours have already contributed in capacity enhancement of more than 150 professionals (Architect, Engineer, Planners, and Academicians) on urban rainwater harvesting in Bangladesh. As a part of popularising and promoting rainwater harvesting in Bangladesh, similar Rainwater Conventions in 2012 and 2014 and Rain Days in 2011, 2013 and 2015 were celebrated successfully.