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PROMOTION OF ROOFTOP RAINWATER HARVESTING IN KATHMANDU: ANALYSIS OF POTENTIAL, POSSIBILITIES AND CONSTRAINS

Abstract

Realizing the rooftop RWHS as decentralized supplementary sources of water in Kathmandu valley in attempt to partially compensate the deficit on current water supply against demand, this study aims to identify the possibilities and constraints of rainwater harvesting system for wider promotion. The study used the research tools like general observation, questionnaire survey, indepth interview and case studies. The analysis of monthly rainfall data at 80% probability of exceedence (Px 0.80), led to estimation of total annual dependable rainfall to be 930.7 mm over the period of 1979 to 2009. Similarly satellite image was classified into 40 classes incorporating both pixel based and structure based which estimated total built up area of Kathmandu municipality. The built up rooftop area of Kathmandu municipality was found to be 24.35 km2 which has a potential of harvesting 15,849.5 ML rainwater. Further with the addition of about 4,684 houses annually with a total rooftop area of 2,04,678.67 m2, 2,072 ML rainwater could be added to the existing potential. Similarly a house roofed with 100 m2 in Kathmandu has a potential of harvesting 41 m3 of rainwater with weekly dependable rainfall of 518.6 mm. This volume of harvested rainwater is about 39.2% of total annual water demand of four member family whereas it is about 88.54% of total water demand in 23 wet weeks. The practice of RWHS for domestic purposes remarkably reduces the monthly water tariff by an average of 34.6% from June to September that reduces the pressure on city water supply and time of fetching water to 5.7 minute in monsoon season which is projected to reach 18 minute in its absence. The quality analyses of rainwater samples revealed that in majority of cases it meets national drinking water quality standard both physically and chemically. Whereas these samples failed to meet biological standard that were contaminated with Fecal Coliform indicating that use of water is unsuitable for direct consumption. As a result, the rainwater is not being used primarily for drinking purposes but was being majorly using for household purposes. The excess harvested rainwater was not used for groundwater recharge and was directly diverted to the drains without taking into the consideration of ecological balance. In order to make people aware of RWHS, many policies have been formulated in recent years which are in the process of execution. The effectiveness of promotion has not been visible yet due to the lack of awareness and technical knowhow. The proper implementation of government policies are therefore the major challenge in wider dissemination of rooftop rainwater harvesting system in urban context. Provision of soft loans and grants could be one of the viable promotional options for it.

(Jeevan Kasula :- jeevan.sameer@gmail.com)