CSE - RELMA partnership


The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi based non-governmental organisation has been trying to sensitise people with regard to the problems of 'ecological poverty' and extensive land degradation, on one hand, and rapidly growing toxification and pollution arising out of industrialisation and economic growth, on the other. As a part of the organisation mandate it also promotes environmentally sound and equitable development strategies.

Jal Swaraj Campaign and The Green Water Harvesting Network: Through the existing jal Swaraj campaign and the green water harvesting network, we propagate the concept of community- based rainwater harvesting with the objective of 'Making Water Everybody's Business'. Our campaign has been promoting this paradigm as a potential solution to address the water crisis in both rural and urban areas. We have developed a comprehensive strategy to further the impact of the campaign for participatory, equitable and decentralised paradigm for water management. CSE has played a pivotal role in generating awareness regarding water harvesting at different levels of the society-from politicians, policy makers, academic institutions, students to primary stakeholders which includes citizens and civil societies.

Training programmes on rainwater harvesting - the journey so far: For generating water literacy we have been extensively conducting training programmes for stake holders ranging from individuals, representatives from educational institutions, government organisations and industries, engineers, architects, builders, contractors, plumbers and masons. Keeping in view their needs and requirements, we have developed group specific modules.

Training Programme
During our visit to Nairobi, we came across sufficient indications that the capital city itself is heading towards a water catastrophe. This was revealed to us through workshops, orientation programme , interaction with water experts, technocrats and politicians and media reports. The existing scenario is further compounded by the fast deteriorating groundwater quality. This situation is the outcome of indiscriminate mining of groundwater reserves.

During our ten day long visit from August 24-September 2, 2003 organised by Regional Land Management Unit (RELMA) we realised that there was a lot of interest amongst the citizens, water experts, professionals politicians of Nairobi to explore and know more about technical issues involved in rainwater harvesting as a plausible solution to the impending water crisis. Responding to this demand we, in association with RELMA, launched an urban rainwater harvesting campaign through a daylong workshop followed by series of them in Nairobi and Nakuru for architects, engineers, industrialists, students, government officials and interested citizens.

To carry the campaign forward a joint decision was taken wherein CSE was made responsible for building capacity of professionals from the southern and eastern Africa region. This training programme would set the pace for water movement in the region involving the local people under the guidance of professionals and interested citizens. The process could later be strengthened and made popular through the efforts of these enthusiastic and committed individuals - water warriors. They would generate consciousness and alongside work towards wide spreading the participatory paradigm of water management. This programme aims at imparting technical information on the concepts and practices in urban water harvesting with regard to storage and artificial recharge. This workshop would also help the participants in developing a sound understanding of design, implementation and monitoring procedures. There will be a blend of classroom lectures, on site sessions and assignments. Exhibition on urban water harvesting and demonstrations by means of working models would add flair to the whole programme.

Modus Operandi
  • Orienting the participants about urban rainwater harvesting concept and developments
  • Ensuring learnings from traditional urban rainwater harvesting concepts, techniques and practices in Delhi
  • Imparting knowledge of designing and planning components of urban rainwater harvesting.
  • Providing practical assignment of urban rainwater harvesting to professionals
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of urban water related developments (constraints and legislations) in Delhi by interacting with architects, engineers and government officials to understand the various
  • Providing opportunities for comprehensive understanding and learning from CSE's campaign strategies
17.11.03 Delhi Orientation programme
· CSE's Jal Swaraj campaign
Orientation on traditional urban rainwater harvesting techniques in Delhi.

Site visit
· Visit to a traditional water harvesting system in Delhi
1100-1700 hrs
18.11.03 Delhi Class room section
Orienting professionals on urban rainwater harvesting concepts, systems, techniques, planning, designing, implementation procedures and monitoring systems
· Experiences of CSE's urban rainwater harvesting initiatives

Site visit
Visit to a Jamia Hamdard University to study the water harvesting practice in the campus. And interacting with Engineers in the university to understand implementation process
1000-1300 hrs

1400-1600 hrs
19.11.03 Delhi Site visit
· Panchsheel park Colony
Shriram school
Tihar JailInteracting with host and people involved in water harvesting
1000-1600 hrs
20.11.03 Gurgaon Site visit
·Tex Corp Industry Interacting with host and people involved in water harvestingPractical training
·Jamia Hamdard University
1000-1700 hrs
21.11.03 Delhi Preparation of rainwater harvesting scheme for the new site
Travel to Chennai by flight
1000-1300 hrs
22.11.03 Chennai Rain center
· Visit to raincentre
· Site visit to study water harvesting practice in Chennai
· Meeting with govt officials and practioners

Return to Delhi flight (late night flight)
1000-1600 hrs

1855 hrs
24.11.03 Delhi Learning through interaction
· Meeting with Professionals (architects, engineers)
· Government agencies (groundwater and water supply authorities)

Debriefing session

Leaving to Mumbai
1000-1400 hrs

1500-1700 hrs
1800 hrs
25.11.03 Delhi Back to Kenya

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Rainwater harvesting in National Museums of Kenya (NAIROBI)


National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Nairobi has become a forerunner in providing practical solutions to the existing acute local water problem. During May 2003 while Nairobi was experiencing monsoon, the residents were buying water, drenched in rain, at exorbitant rates. However NMK had a different story to narrate. This campus spread over 17 hectare had enough water to meet its requirements. Interestingly, museums staff were able to carry home rainwater stored sub-surface tanks, which at that point was like a dream come true.

Rainwater harvesting in NMK was the brain child of Wambugu, botanical manager, NMK. With the help of Regional Land Management Unit (RELMA) and Kenya Rainwater Association (KRA) a rainwater harvesting scheme was prepared and implemented in 2000. Major components of the rainwater harvesting system is as follows:

  • Rooftop runoff from one of the main buildings is stored in three subsurface tanks where as that from one of the sheds in the zoological garden is used for irrigation purpose.
  • Water used by the crocodiles and other amphibians was recycled by collecting it in a sub surface sump and later using it for irrigation purpose

NMK is now an attraction for the local community due its rainwater harvesting system. According to Abel Barasa Atiti, Education Officer, NMK, during the crisis it became the most sought after site - as it provided an easy, local and a practical solution. As recognition to the efforts, NMK was selected for KRA's annual exposition on water conservation.

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