Girls Advocates for Harvesting Rainwater in Salinity-Affected Coastal Bangladesh

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Lalita Roy now has access to clean water and also provides a service to her community by working as a pani apa (water sister), looking after the community's rainwater harvesting plants. Credit: Rafiqul Islam/IPS

Lalita Roy now has entry to wash water and likewise offers a service to her group by working as a pani apa (water sister), taking care of the group’s rainwater harvesting vegetation. Credit score: Rafiqul Islam/IPS

KHULNA, Bangladesh, Sep 23 2022 (IPS) – Like many different ladies in Bangladesh’s salinity-prone coastal area, Lalita Roy needed to journey an extended distance on daily basis to gather ingesting water as there was no contemporary water supply close by her locality.

“Up to now, there was a shortage of ingesting water. I needed to journey one to 2 kilometers distance every day to carry water,” Roy, a resident of Bajua Union beneath Dakope Upazila in Khulna, informed IPS.

She needed to acquire water standing in a queue; one water pitcher was not sufficient to satisfy her every day family demand.

“We require two pitchers of ingesting water per day. I needed to spend two hours every day amassing water. So, there have been numerous issues. I had well being problems, and I used to be unable to do family work for lack of time,” she stated.

After getting a rainwater harvesting plant from the Gender-response Local weather Adaptation (GCA) Undertaking, which is being carried out by United Nations Growth Programme (UNDP), Roy is now amassing ingesting water utilizing the rainwater harvesting plant, which makes her life simpler.

“I get the amenities, and now I can provide two extra hours to my household… that’s why I benefited,” she added.

Shymoli Boiragi, one other beneficiary of Shaheber Abad village beneath Dakope Upazila, stated ladies in her locality suffered lots in amassing ingesting water up to now as a result of they needed to stroll one to a few kilometers on daily basis to gather water.

“We misplaced each time and family work. After getting rainwater harvesting vegetation, we benefited. Now we’d like not go an extended distance to gather water in order that we are able to do extra family work,” Boiragi stated.

Shymoli revealed that coastal individuals suffered from numerous well being issues attributable to consuming saline water and spent cash on amassing the water too.

“However now we’re conserving rainwater in the course of the ongoing monsoon and can drink it for the remainder of the 12 months,” she added.


With assist from the challenge, rainwater harvesting vegetation have been put in at about 13,300 households beneath 39 union parishads in Khunla and Satkhira. One pani apa (water sister) has been deployed in each union from the beneficiaries.

Roy, now deployed as a pani apa, stated the GCA challenge performed a survey on the households needing water vegetation and chosen her as a pani apa for 2 wards.

“As a pani apa, I’ve been given numerous instruments. I am going to each family two instances per 30 days. I clear up their water tanks (rainwater vegetation) and restore these, if needed,” he added.

Roy stated she offers providers for 80 households having rainwater harvesting vegetation, and if they’ve any downside with their water tanks, she goes to their homes to restore vegetation.

“I am going to 67 households, which have water vegetation, one to 2 instances per 30 days to supply upkeep providers. In the event that they name me over the cellphone, I additionally go to their homes,” stated Ullashini Roy, one other pani apa from Shaheber Abad village.

She stated a family provides her Taka 20 per 30 days for her upkeep providers whereas she will get Taka 1,340 (US$ 15) from 67 households, which helps her with household bills.

Ahoke Kumar Adhikary, regional challenge supervisor of the Gender-Response Local weather Adaptation Undertaking, stated it supported putting in rainwater harvesting vegetation at 13,300 households. Every plant will retailer 2,000 liters of rainwater in every tank for the dry season.

The water vegetation want upkeep, which is why the challenge has employed pani apas for every union parishad (ward or council). They work at a group degree on upkeep.

“They supply some providers, and we name them pani apas. The work of pani apas is to go to each family and supply the providers,” Adhikary stated.

He stated the pani apas get Taka 20 from each family per 30 days for offering their providers, and if they should substitute faucets or filters of the water vegetation, they substitute these.

The pani apas cost for the replacements of apparatus of the water vegetation, he added.


The coastal belt of Bangladesh is likely one of the most weak areas to local weather change as it’s hit laborious by cyclones, floods, and storm surges yearly, destroying its freshwater sources. The freshwater aquifer can also be being affected by salinity as a consequence of rising sea ranges.

Ullashini Roy stated freshwater was unavailable within the coastal area, and folks ingesting water was scarce.

“The water you’re looking at is saline. The underground water can also be salty. The individuals of the area can not use saline water for ingesting and family functions,” Adhikary stated.

Ahmmed Zulfiqar Rahaman, hydrologist and local weather change skilled at Dhaka-based think-tank Middle for Environmental and Geographic Data Providers (CEGIS), stated if the ocean degree rises by 50 centimeters by 2050, the floor salinity will attain Gopalganj and Jhalokati districts – 50 km contained in the mainland from the coastal belt, accelerating ingesting water disaster there.


In keeping with a 2019 research, individuals consuming saline water undergo from numerous bodily issues, together with acidity, abdomen issues, pores and skin illnesses, psychological issues, and hypertension.

It’s even being blamed for early marriages as a result of salinity step by step modifications ladies’ pores and skin shade from gentle to grey.

“There is no such thing as a candy water round us. After ingesting saline water, we suffered from numerous waterborne illnesses like diarrhea and cholera,” Ullashini stated.

Hypertension and hypertension are frequent amongst coastal individuals. The research additionally confirmed individuals really feel psychological stress attributable to having to always acquire contemporary water.

Shymoli stated when the saved ingesting water runs out in any household; the relations get fearful as a result of it’s not simple to gather within the coastal area.


Rahaman stated river water flows quickly decline in Bangladesh in the course of the dry season, however an answer must be discovered for the coastal space.

The hydrologist recommended a attainable answer is constructing extra freshwater reservoirs within the coastal area via correct administration of ponds at a group degree.

Rahaman stated low-cost rainwater harvesting know-how ought to be transferred to the group degree in order that coastal individuals can reserve rainwater in the course of the monsoon and use this in the course of the dry season.

He added that the federal government ought to present subsidies for desalinization vegetation since desalinizing salt water is dear.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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