“Call it a rainwater day in the monsoon forecast- not a bad weather”

International Conference on "Water, Environment and Climate Change: Knowledge Sharing and Partnership"- Day 2

- Manashree Newa

11April, 2018, Kathmandu: The second day of International Conference on "Water, Environment and Climate Change: Knowledge Sharing and Partnership" witnessed outstanding presentations on varied topics related to water quality, smart water management, rainwater harvesting, wastewater and solid waste management, sanitation, and climate induced hazards.

 "We tend to call a rainy day as a bad day. It is simply raining, and not a bad weather", said Bhushan Tuladhar, Techincal Advisor to UNHABITAT. Well, this lighted up the conference hall, as everyone agreed to the statement. Session 11 and Session 16 were dedicated to rainwater harvesting with a total of 12 presentations. The speakers were from different countries; Nepal, China, Korea, Zambia, Mexico, and India. The moderator for both the sessions was Han Heijnen, President, IRHA.

In the key-note address, Guan Yuntao from China presented about the LID and Sponge City technologies that have been successful to curb the water problems in his country. He mainly focused on rainwater harvesting being the best remedy to control the non-point source pollution. Han Heijnen in his keynote address said, "Rainwater harvesting as a big scope in the exceptional situations where technology can't reach."

The Session 11 was chaired by Suman P. Sharma who highlighted that there must be an implementable solution so that rainwater harvesting is no more a puzzle. Indeed, the afternoon had many solution-orientated presentation; in fact maximum were success stories, or plans that will be implemented soon. Er. Sunil Duwal presented the municipality plan that has been taken up by Bhaktapur Municipality in rainwater management.

Professor Mooyoung Han, who has also published a book on rainwater harvesting, presented on the development of rain cities in Korea. He has devised several RWH models that can be suitable at different geologies and situations. Similarly Danny Bwalya presented on the feasibility and adaptability of Sponge City Concept in Zambia. David Vargas, from Mexico told his story about how his company Isla Urbana has been successful in tackling the water crisis in Mexico through rainwater harvesting. "Rainwater harvesting is indeed a sustainable solution to water crisis and also urban flooding,” shared David.

Kiran Darnal, Chief of Climate Change and appropriate technology department on the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage presented about the activities the government of Nepal has done in the sector of rainwater harvesting. Similarly, Sanna L. Rautanen also presented about the activities done in Nepal with the support of Finland. Dr. Namrata Pathak presented about the activities carried out in India, and the situation at Delhi.

"Installing rainwater harvesting systems will be more fruitful in the areas where there people are facing water crisis. Those people know the importance of water and ownership will be higher; thus making the system more efficient and sustainable”, shared Namrata.

She further said, "Rainwater harvesting has always been a part of Indian culture and history. The method of 'catch where it falls' had been implemented since ancient times. But, the municipal water supply has made people somewhat hesitant and lazy to harvest rainwater. Nevertheless, now we are going back to adopting those traditional systems."

The other speakers –Dr. Anjal Prakash, Madan Bhatta, Bijay Maharjan, and Praveena Kumara also presented about various important aspects of rainwater harvesting. The session ended with recommendation and follow-up by Han Heijnen, where he summarized the sessions and gave a conclusion to all the discussions.

Overall, the sessions on rainwater harvesting were very interesting and praise worthy. They surely lighted a spark on the global need of efficient rainwater harvesting for environmental balance and human use. It was indeed a great platform to share the activities that have been carried out globally, giving an opportunity to learn from success stories of others.

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