Potable water scarcity: options and issues in the coastal areas of Bangladesh

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In the coastal areas of Bangladesh, scarcity of drinking water is acute as freshwater aquifers are not available at suitable depths and surface water is highly saline. Households are mainly dependent on rainwater harvesting, pond sand filters and pond water for drinking purposes. Thus, individuals in these areas often suffer from waterborne diseases. In this paper, water consumption behaviour in two southwestern coastal districts of Bangladesh has been investigated. The data for this study were collected through a survey conducted on 750 rural households in 39 villages of the study area. The sample was selected using a random sampling technique. Households' choice of water source is complex and seasonally dependent. Water sourcing patterns, households' preference of water sourcing options and economic feasibility of options suggest that a combination of household and community-based options could be suitable for year-round water supply. Distance and time required for water collection were found to be difficult for water collection from community-based options. Both household and community-based options need regular maintenance. In addition to installation of water supply facilities, it is necessary to make the residents aware of proper operation and maintenance of the facilities.

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