Monday, November 29, 2010

Rainwater harvesting in rural Nepal

Rainwater Harvesting System

Location: Chainpur, Tanahun, Nepal

The jar-shaped white structure is rainwater harvesting tank. By volume, it can store 6 cubic meters of water. Rainwater is collected on the roof and is channeled to the jar via pipe. The rainwater is subjected to two stages of filtering process before it is collected in the jar, which is made up of ferro (iron) cement. It is usually used for drinking purposes.

This technology is suitable in places where there are no other options of drinking water. For instance, it is used in high altitude areas (there is low probability of gravity-flow water access) and places where the source of drinking water (typically a communal tap or pond) is too far away to fetch water each day. People usually spend two hours, two times a day to fetch water from the nearest drinking water source. It substantially frees up time for people to engage in other activities, thus having a sizable impact on agricultural production.

The observers who inspected these facilities in the village also claim that their survey shows that this kind of rainwater harvesting is having positive impact on nutrition intake (chiefly through the quality of water intake) and vocational productivity (handmade crafts and carpets) among villagers. Furthermore, it is also having a positive impact on school attendance as children are the ones who usually spend four hours (two hours each in morning and evening) every day fetching water.

The total cost of of one rainwater harvesting tank is around NRs 85,000 (US$1180). This project is being run by Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH).

MockupRWH 004

A mockup of rainwater harvesting.

(Picture sourced from Nirmal Adhikari’s album on Flickr)

South Africa’s post-liberalization textile industry

“This paper examines the responses of firms in the textile industry of South Africa to that country's rapid liberalisation of trade since the early 1990s. The data reveal that there have been increased exports accompanied by reductions in employment and contraction of production of yarns and fabrics. Drawing on a survey of companies, followed by interviews, it documents how competitive pressures from imports have led firms to increase their exports. Exporting is not, however, directly associated with better performance. This is due to its being a response by many firms to weak domestic demand and the need to maintain production capacity.

But, liberalisation has also been accompanied by much upgrading of equipment and by increased specialisation and vertical disintegration in order to develop competitive niches despite South Africa's manufacturing wage levels being higher than those of many of its international competitors. Firms focusing on non‐price factors of export competitiveness have been better performing. Firms have also been most successful where technological capabilities based on the domestic market provided a foundation for export competitiveness. There are indications that with the restructuring induced by liberalisation the sector is in a position more effectively to exploit its competitive strengths in international markets. In addition, the United States' African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) offers some stimulus for the textile industry to supply fabrics to firms in the export garment sector which previously imported them.”

The paper by Simon Roberts and John Thoburn (2003) is here. It seem that South African textile industry adjusted pretty comfortably during the post-liberalization era. The Nepali textile and garment industries should learn from them and study how South African firms remained competitive after liberalization.