Amritadhara in supplying fresh water in coastal areas.

Dakshin Kalinagar, Mushiganj, Shyamnagar, Satkhira, Bangladesh

Feedback on Safe Drinking Water

The problem of drinking water in the coastal and hilly districts of Bangladesh is long-standing. The people of these regions are plagued by various water­ borne problems. Satkhira is one of the coastal districts of Bangladesh. In terms of water problems. Especially in Shyamnagar Upazila of this district, the problem of fresh water is severe.

Dakshin Kalinagar is a village, built in the lap of the world’s largest mangrove forest – the Sundarbans. Most of the people of this village depend on the Sundarbans for their livelihood. The people of this village have to struggle with numerous natural disasters to survive. Cyclones, high tides, storm surges floods, heavy rains and Heat waves are the major natural disasters in this area with the associated problems of saline environment.

Salinity in water is a very big issue and challenge for the health issues of the residents.

Photo: Typical Slow Sand Filter With the technical support from PRISM India (Professional Institute for Development and Socio Environmental Management) and financial support from Science Connect Ltd. Bangladesh, a pilot project under the Safe Water Mission was initiated basically to ensure Access to Safe Drinking Water to the community. Under this mission the well-tried Domestic Water Purifiers (DWP)-AMRITADHARA (using the concept of Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage, prescribed by WHO in April 2015) were provided to 18 families in Dakshin Kalinagar Village of Munshiganj Union of Shyamnagar Upazila. The aim was to do monitoring at regular intervals, check the changes and their acceptance level. The key members (mainly the women of the families) were imparted handholding training on the use of reagents for treatment, avoiding all possible risks of contamination of the treated water. After the handholding training the users started preparing safe drinking water at home. A monthly (BMI) survey was conducted among the users of the Safe Drinking Water. A survey was conducted among the users as well as involving the non-users, and found that when they were filtering pond water for consumption, they faced many physical ailments, particularly dysentery, colic pain, gastric, indigestion and diarrhea, etc. However, after they started consuming treated and pure drinking water using DWPs, they no longer suffer from the physical problems mentioned above. Earlier every family used to buy medicines spending 1000 to 2000 BOT every month, but since they have got access to Safe Drinking Water through DWPs they are saving their family budget on medicines.

Earlier the common practice of each family was to buy water for 500 to 600 BOT per month, which was a nightmare for them. Before the introduction of the DWPs, the family members (mostly women) had to stand in long queues to collect water by filtering the pond water from the nearby surface water plant (flow rate of the plant was 38 mins for 20 liters jar) but now they don’t have to stand in queues to collect water. As a result, the women get productive time for other works. Due to the absence of fresh drinking water, the villagers used to drink less amount of water than required but now their water consumption has increased. Now, the members of those 18 families refuse to drink water from other sources, as they know the consequences. They suffered having water from the pond before the introduction of the DWPs. According to them they used to have stomach ache and sometimes stomach cramps, now many of them have got rid of such problems.

Currently in those 18 families all the members have been living a healthy and normal life as there was no problem with food and water. Their work was getting faster than before. They want to have DWP-AMRITADHARA water throughout their life. The remaining households in the village, yet to have access to Safe Drinking Water are really very keen to get DWP-AMRITADHARA. Local people are very happy to get such drinkable water without salinity (which is reduced through treatment process) at an affordable cost. They want that if DWP-AMRITADHARA can be spread in their entire union and Upazilas, then the life of people in their area will be much easier.

People will get rid of many water borne diseases. The life of these people struggling in the battle of life will be much easier. Water is the eternal blessing of the creator. These people, who are deprived of clean water, are eagerly waiting to get the access to Safe Drinking Water through DWP-AMRITADHARA. Therefore, the locals request DWP­ AMRITADHARA to be widely spread in their area.

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