Safe drinking water is a pre-requisite for development of any society. All the known civilizations have flourished with water source as the base and it is true in the present context too. Availability of safe drinking water is one of the basic minimum requirements for healthy living. Despite the advancements of technology in recent pasts, the global scenario still remains grim, as all the inhabitants of the world do not have access to safe water.
Towards sustainable management of freshwater with respect to the physical alternatives, the possible solutions could be finding alternate or additional water resources using conventional centralized approaches; or utilizing the limited amount of water resources available in a more efficient way. Among the various technologies to augment freshwater resources in order to reduce the scarcity of safe water, rainwater harvesting and its utilization could be an environmentally sound solution, which can avoid many environmental problems often caused by conventional large-scale projects using centralized approaches.
Rainwater is an important water source in many areas with significant rainfall like Bangladesh, but lacking proper maintenance and technique. It is also a good option in areas where good quality fresh surface water or ground water is lacking, such as coastal areas of Bangladesh. The problem is that the technique of rainwater harvesting in practice lacks hygiene and the type of maintenance it EXECUTIVE SUMMARY xiv requires to keep it safe for long term use is not familiar to all. Thus the lack of maintenance and reluctance in preserving rainwater through proper way by rainwater harvesters restricts them to store it for only a few days. In this research, the important parameters to keep the stored rainwater safe, from catchment to user’s collection point, were taken into consideration.
In order to cope with these issues, ITN-BUET carried out a research under EC-CAFOD funded Improved Food and Livelihood Security in Bagerhat District, Bangladesh in the Context of Increased Disaster Risk and Climate Change Project. Mongla, a thana of Bagerhat district, is one of those areas in coastal zone where safe drinking water source is scarce which has made rainwater harvesting a largely practiced option for safe water. But this water is often contaminated for poor maintenance and is also little harvested for lack of ability and adequate knowledge, not only in Mongla, but in other places also. In this project, ITN-BUET emphasized on proper maintenance of the system to store rainwater for a longer period without any contamination in stored water. In addition, a solar water heater was installed with the system to reduce the risk of any microbial contamination that may occur at any point of the system. The results show that microbial contamination can be reduced by implementing proper maintenance and can be brought down below the health limit by using solar water heater as the temperature found was high enough to destroy harmful microorganisms that are often found in stored rainwater.