The South Asia Rainwater Network (SARNET) is hosted by Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum In Sri Lanka. SARNET was set up in late 2019 in order to promote best practices and experiences in rainwater harvesting in the South Asian region. It has grown from some 30 members in 2020 to well over a hundred in 2023. Most members are from South Asia, with some also from Africa. The broader objective of SARNET is to generate further knowledge and evidence on suitability of rainwater harvesting, support capacity building and promote inclusion of rainwater harvesting in national and municipal policies.
During the COVID period SARNET organized regular webinars and also held a conference in 2021. This process was effective in introducing members to each other, but a physical presence would of course be far better for effective exchanges. This opportunity arose in May 2023 when some 30 practitioners attended the 2nd SARNET conference in person, while a further 30-40 participants attended the two-day conference on-line. The conference was hosted at the headquarters of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and sponsored by USAID.
The Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum is an alliance member of IRHA. The conference was a good opportunity to link Alliance members and so, IRHA facilitated the participation of another IRHA alliance member, Macpherson Nthara, chairman of the Rainwater Harvesting Association of Malawi (RHAM). In addition, Han Heijnen, IRHA president acted as a co-organizer of the Conference.
Before the conference
a technician training and technical exchange programme was held in Mahiyangana
district in the East of Sri Lanka . During the 5-day programme 2 different
types of ferrocement storage tanks were constructed: the Pumpkin tank from Sri
Lanka and the Calabash tank from Africa. Francis Kule, an experienced
technician from Kasese district in Western Uganda, was at hand to construct the
tank with the participants and Lanka Rainwater Harvesting Forum masons. The team also actively participated in the
construction of the pumpkin tank.
The training participants consisted of professors, some
CEO’s, district government planners and NGOs. All had a good time working and
understanding the system and the difference it would make to the households.
The two-day conference was well attended with a wide-range
of experiences shared from around the South Asia region. Sony Pun, project
officer at Kanchan Nepal, the IRHA partner in Pokhara, Nepal also attended and
actively shared her experiences.
Training experiences SARNET conference 2023