International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

Water Resource Management in Ethiopia and Nepal

Ethiopia, Nepal



Integrating bamboo into rainwater harvesting systems in Ethiopia and Nepal

In the past 20 years, Ethiopia and Nepal have experienced devastating cyclical droughts followed by food shortages, famine, floods and limited rainfall. A number of rural communities do not have access to safe and clean water; many of these same communities are also largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture. The water crisis coupled with the impacts of increasing climate variability is already having devastating effects on rural communities and ecosystems, including reduced agricultural productivity, economic and environmental losses and social upheaval.

This project contributed to addressing barriers to water storage in areas of rural Ethiopia and Nepal by promoting demonstration activities that mapped local bamboo and water resources at the district level, trained a local community in effective bamboo resource management, and promoted technology transfer from Nepal and Canada on bamboo-based rainwater harvesting systems. The project focused on using bamboo as a main structural material to make water storage tanks, using technology previously trialled in Nepal in the 1980s. This was done in Ethiopia through a demonstration construction of two 5000 L capacity bank water tanks at Kochere Village in Tikur Inchinni Wordea, Oromiya Region. In addition to the tank demonstration, systems for filtering water with bio-sand filters where deployed in Ethiopia, while systems for transporting water using mechanical and solar powered pumps, as well as recycling gray water with reed beds, were validated in Nepal.

Initial findings from the project suggest that the bamboo water storage tank technology developed during the project has the potential to reduce costs of water storage in rural areas by as much as 30 to 50 per cent in comparison with plastic and concrete tanks respectively.