Government changes building codes as Dhaka experiences record rainfall
The government is going to amend the country's building code to make rainwater harvesting mandatory for all the buildings as the level of ground water is decreasing quickly. Bangladesh. 24th August 2011
The government is going to amend the country's 'building code' to make harvesting of rain water mandatory for all the buildings as the level of ground water is falling fast because of excessive use.
Sheikh Abdul Mannan, a member of Rajuk (planning), has said that the government wanted to encourage the builders so that they keep provisions for rooftop harvesting of rain waters. The developers can also preserve rain water in any ground facilities if roofs are not an option for them.
But it is going to be binding for them one way or the other.
He said a new provision titled, 'Rain Water Harvesting and Ground Water Recharging' will be punched in the 'Dhaka Mahanagar Building (Construction, Development, Protection and Removal) Rule' enacted in 2008.
"The provision must be included in all building plans from 2012 if the code is amended by the end of this year," he said.
Local government minister Syed Ashraful Islam on Tuesday told parliament that the government was working on ensuring collection of 70 percent water demanded in the capital city of Dhaka from rainwater and water holes in the next 10 years.
Engineer Mannan said 87 percent of water requirements in the city came from underground source, 13 percent from the Buriganga and the Shitalkkhya rivers.
"The water of these rivers has become unfit for use even after refining," he said.
"Dependence on ground water is increasing to meet the demand. As a result, the level of ground water is decreasing two-three metres (eight-10 feet) every year, which raises fears of landslide. In this situation, use of surface water is being emphasised," he added.
Deputy chief engineer of the Department of Architecture Ahsanul Haque Khan said, "Many countries have maintained ground water level by siphoning rainwater under the ground through special procedure. It has now become necessary for Bangladesh to launch the system."
"Sustainable reservoirs will have to be set up on rooftops or on the grounds of buildings. Reserved rain water can be used in two ways. This water can be used for bathing and cleaning. On the other hand, a part of the reserved water will be siphoned deep under ground."
Mentioning that the system has been successfully applied in Ahmedabad, India and many European countries, Khan said he thought Bangladesh could be a role model in this approach.
A four-member team participated in a workshop in Ahmedabad in April and in Sweden in June.
Speaking about what he learned at the workshop, Khan said a pipe would have to be set in such a way that its end reaches the sand level under the ground as sand can absorb water fast.
"It's not a tough job. The developed countries of the world are using modern technologies for this," he said.
Capital's developer Rajuk has already started conversation with experts to include the rain water harvesting provision in the building code.
Rajuk member Mannan said they had spoken with leaders of the Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) and the Institute of Architecture who had sounded positive. They have already included the matter in plans for several buildings.
Mannan said, "The new provision will be made compulsory for new buildings. Besides, owners of the old buildings will be encouraged to harvest rain water in the amended law."
Rajuk officials said the government has a plan to make the provision for buildings in other cities later.