The article was first published on The UNCDF website. Click here to read the original publication.
Sutarkhali Union is located on the south-west coastal side in Bangladesh which exposes it to constant climate hazards such as cyclones, tidal surges, riverbank erosion, salinity intrusion and more. Salinity intrusion particularly affect the community in multiple folds as there is crop production damage leading to unstable livelihoods and scarcity of drinking water.
Reports suggest that many people residing in the coastal areas consume higher amounts of salt than required which may cause severe health hazards in the long run. Moreover, women who are primarily in charge of household chores must walk long distances up to almost 3kms every day, under the scorching heat or pouring rain to fetch drinking water from far away ‘sweet water’ ponds as they call it. This is not only taxing on their body, but also exposes them to high maternity and other health risks.
Local Government Initiative on Climate Change, (LoGIC) project, led by the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government Rural Development and Cooperatives, is a joint 4-year initiative of the Government of Bangladesh, UNDP, UNCDF, the European Union and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). LoGIC is phase II of UNCDF’s global Project Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL) in Bangladesh.
To ensure safe drinking water for local people in the saline prone Suterkhali Union of Dacope Upazila of Khulna district, LoGIC project is supporting the local governments to adopt some adaptive technologies. Rainwater harvesting is a cheap and nature-based technology with no negative impact on the environment. It can ensure supply of drinking water for several months if enough water is stored properly.
In the Sutarkhali Union, a sweet water pond that preserves rainwater was re-excavated with PBCRG support to increase water availability for the community. The water treatment plant was set up to benefit approximately 1200 people of 300 households, particularly the women. The project had a planned cost of US$19000, of which US$17500 was provided by UNCDF/LOGIC, and then rest was co-financed by local government and government’s public health engineering department. The water treatment plant produces 5000 liters of clean drinking water every single day which caters to the requirements of the local salinity affected communities.
LoGIC played a catalytic role for this community to build resilience against climate change by working with the community and the UPs to bring out sustainable solutions to climate induced salinity problem.
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