Rainwater harvesting is a potential option of water supply to the coastal and arsenic affected rural communities in Bangladesh and during the last few years, several projects were undertaken to promote and install various types of rainwater harvesting systems by government organizations and NGOs mainly for drinking and cooking water supply. A study was undertaken to assess the currently practiced rainwater harvesting systems located in the south west coastal and arsenic affected areas in the country. A total of 1,000 rainwater-harvesting systems were investigated using structured questionnaires; among them 14.8% were community based and 85.2% were household rainwater harvesting systems. The results of this assessment are presented in this paper. Availability of the harvested rainwater, operation, storage and maintenance of community based rainwater harvesting and ensuring water quality to meet the drinking water standard are the important issues that must be addressed properly. A protocol for the operation and maintenance according to WHO guideline can be adopted for the safe and sustainable rainwater harvesting in the country.
Keywords: drinking water supply, issues of rainwater harvesting, questionnaire survey, rainwater harvesting, roof catchment, storage tanks