Water Portal / Rainwater Harvesting / Salyan District, Nepal

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Rainwater harvesting in Nepal. Photo: Nepal WASH Alliance

BSP-Nepal in partnership with the RAIN Foundation has collaborated with local NGOs and community members of the district to make a meaningful contribution to the challenges faced by the water sector in Nepal, especially through providing rainwater facilities. The means used to improve the living conditions of select poor and marginalised communities include: rooftop rainwater harvesting, small scale gravity flow schemes, spring source conservation, infrastructure improvements, ground water recharge for mid-hill sources, and rainwater / waste water harvesting for irrigation. In addition, BSP-Nepal has embarked in creating entrepreneurship by providing Micro Enterprise Creation (MEC) training.

Project period: October 2012 – June 2013

Pilot challenge

Current situation

BSP Nepal works in two water catchment areas of the Salyan district where water hardship is very high, on a project to support the livelihood of the community through the provision of rainwater for multiple use services (MUS).

The areas are in close coordination with DDC, DWSS subdivision office, WASH actors and community demand, especially in rainwater harvesting. High water hardship means that sufficient (clean) water is not locally available, but needs to be fetched downhill. Often springs have dried up, and / or other sources are contaminated. The lack of clean drinking water nearby is problematic, especially for (pregnant) women and children who are most vulnerable to diseases. Moreover, the lack of water makes sanitation and hygienic behaviour very difficult, thereby aggravating even further the drinking water problems through contamination of existing sources. Water in these areas is too scarce to be used for gardening, small scale irrigation and for cattle rearing – the lack of water thus has a direct effect on food insecurity.

Socioeconomic and cultural conditions

The target population mainly consists of marginalised groups who are socially excluded, such as the Kamis (dalit group). The population lives uphill at least several hours walking distance from water sources, but also from other facilities, such as markets. People mainly depend on subsistence agriculture and small scale cattle rearing. With settlements on steep hills, undulating slippery paths and with long waiting periods for collecting water, the people face difficulties with time, heath and education of their children, as well as adoption of sanitation and hygiene practices.

Pilot landscape

Salyan district lies in the Midwestern Development Region of Nepal. The project areas lie in the upper hills. Problems specific to these areas regarding water is the absence of pipe-line water supply, drying up of existing streams and springs, no potentials for borewells and thereby high dependence on rainwater for drinking, as well as agriculture. Dependence on in situ rain (for agriculture) limits the production of different agricultural products, such as those that require less water in the drier seasons, which increases food insecurity. The degree of vulnerability is higher amongst the most poor populations.

Pilot purpose

As people are highly dependent on rain water, it is essential to retain and reuse as much as possible for later use, so that the drinking water fetching time is reduced and stored. Excess water can be reused for productive purposes through means of micro-irrigation or for cattle watering.

BSP-Nepal aims to improve access to quantity and quality water supply (mostly rainwater) and sanitation infrastructures, ground water recharge, improve personal hygiene, and domestic / environmental sanitation, particularly focusing on children, women, the poor and marginalised, and communities in remote areas. These improvements will contribute to multiple use of water for livelihood enhancement.

Location and partners

The Salyan district of Nepal. Map source: wikipedia.org
  • Village, district, country: Korbang Jhimpe, Triveni, Sinbang & Rim, Salyan District, Nepal
  • Main partner: BSP-Nepal
  • Role and responsibility of main partner: BSP Nepal is responsible for the coordination of the implementation by the local partners Midwest Youth Unification Centre (MYUC Nepal) and People’s Awareness for Rural Development Centre (PARD Nepal). BSP Nepal is also responsible for the monitoring and coordination at government level, as well as with microfinance institutes. Moreover, BSP Nepal is responsible for the integration of the project into the national biogas program.
  • Other partners: Simavi
  • Role and responsibilities of other partners: Simavi co-funds this project



  1. Enhancing communities and sector supporting agencies (civil society organization and local government body) to manage, operate and maintain water supply and sanitation schemes, or other built up infrastructures, in a sustainable way
  2. Implementation of 3R solutions to provide water
  3. Increased health and improved livelihood through improved sanitation and hygiene as well as improved food production
  4. Income generation through MUS of RWH and enhanced dignity through entrepreneurship skill


  1. Identification, selection, prioritization, baseline / feasibility / detailed study
  2. Construction of 58 household level RWH systems
  3. Construction of 2 institutional / communal RWH at schools
  4. RWH mason training
  5. Sanitation & hygiene awareness program / trainings at catchment level
  6. Installation of toilets
  7. Meeting, coordination & linkage built-up with stakeholders
  8. Support for drip irrigation, plastic ponds & other appropriate low cost technologies
  9. Integrating biogas
  10. Awareness program for biogas component
  11. User's training on operation and maintenance
  12. Training on use of slurry for income generation
  13. Monitoring


This pilot uses the F.I.E.T.S. model of WASH services.

Financial: BSP- Nepal has previous experience working with micro-financing institutions in the implementation of rainwater harvesting programs. Their knowledge and outcome will be replicated at this project site, including financial sustainability. Income generation opportunities will also be explored.

Institutional: The intervention areas are in close coordination with V-WASH CC and D-WASH CC. Water management committees are set up and trained in planning, operation and maintenance. For effective implementation of the project, an after sales service is set up by BSP Nepal. Sustainability of the rainwater harvesting systems is assured through trainings of the users and local service providers.

Environmental: Environmental sanitation and climate change will be addressed. RWH and the 3R approach support the using and reusing of available water in an efficient way, creating a water buffer for future use, and as resilience against climate change effects. The RAIN program aims at conducting multiple use system (MUS) activities, such as the use of waste water and slurry of biogas for productive purposes.

Technical: RWH systems, biogas, and drip irrigation are the main interventions in the project; indigenous knowledge will be exercised in developing and modifying improvements of these technologies.

Social: The project will focus on gender and social equity. Users groups with 33% women and marginal group representation will be encouraged.

SWOT analysis

Here is a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of the project:

  • Combination of WASH measures and MUS of water for food security and environmentally sustainable solutions
  • Microfinance component and income generating activities
  • Strong collaboration with local decision makers
  • Rainwater harvesting still low on priority list of local decision makers
  • ...
  • ...
  • Low cost, ‘add-on’ technologies are offered, which might be replicated or installed by population without interference of donors
  • ...
  • ...
  • Isolated area: difficult access might hamper/slow down construction
  • Isolated area: the result might be ‘invisible’ for outsiders, thereby compromising the demonstrative/ showcase effects
  • Non-respect of population in paying back their micro-loans

Current situation Expected results Actual results
Water supply Absence of pipe-line water supply and springs, no potentials of borewell Rooftop rainwater harvesting and small-scale gravity flow schemes
MUS High dependence on in situ rainwater for agriculture and cattle watering Rainwater and waste water harvesting for irrigation
3R Drying up of existing streams Spring source conservation and infrastructure improvements; ground water recharge for mid-hill source
Business development Subsistence agriculture Crop diversification and possibly surplus production


  • Total number of people: 1165 (direct beneficiaries water infrastructure)
  • Type of target group (social / cultural): marginal and Dalit
  • Economic status: poor
  • Current economic activities: subsistence agriculture, small sale cattle keeping
  • Type(s) of water harvesting: roof water harvesting
  • Type(s) of storage system(s): rainwater jars (<10 m3) and underground tanks (>60m3)
  • Number of systems: 58 rainwater jars (<10 m3), 2 underground tanks (>60m3)
  • Number of systems at household level: 58
  • Number of systems at schools: 2

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