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World Water Day : Coastal Communities Come Together at Water Parliaments to Demand Action to Ensure Drinking Water

Water insecurity is a growing crisis in coastal communities in Bangladesh. On the eve of the World Water Day 2023, three Water Parliaments were held in the coastal district- Satkhira, Barguna, and Cox’s Bazar, bringing together community members, civil society activists, media workers, and other stakeholders to discuss the pressing issue of water insecurity.

Organized by Participatory Research & Action Network- PRAAN, and ActionAid Bangladesh in collaboration with SoDesh in Satkhira, Jago Nari in Barguna and ISDE in Cox’s Bazar, the Water Parliaments provided a platform for affected community members to share their personal experiences of how the fresh water crisis is affecting their lives and livelihoods. There parliaments were conducted under the activities under the WaterMove Campaign aiming toward ending water poverty in coastal Bangladesh.

In Satkhira, men and women presented testimony on behalf of the people affected by the water crisis, describing their struggle to collect daily required water for survival and cope with the unavoidable challenges caused by the water crisis. They spoke about the physical ailments they suffer from carrying heavy water storage containers, the health risks associated with drinking saline and contaminated water, and the burden of additional costs in treating salinity-related illnesses and purchasing essential drinking water. District Agricultural Extension Engineer Md. Harun Ur Rashid, Member Secretary of District Citizens Committee and prominent journalist Abul kalam Azad, Sadar Upazila Public Health Engineering Department Engineer Mofizur Rahman joined the event.

Similar stories were shared in Cox’s Bazar and Barguna, where participants highlighted the direct impact of water insecurity on people’s lives and fundamental rights. Aljaj Zafar Alam- Member of the Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the National Parliament, Maksudul Haque Chetta- Vice Chairman of Upazila Parishad joined the event at Chakaria, Cox’s Bazar. Alhaj Zafar Alap MP emphasized on forming a Coastal Development Board to adopt and implement the necessary plans taking into account the problems of the people of this coast. A proposal to form the Coastal Development Board will be brought to the National Parliament in the upcoming Parliament and priorities should be given in affected areas due to climate change, he said.

At the Water Parliament held in Barguna, chief guest of the event Md. Raisul Islam, Executive Engineer, Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) Barguna District said that the crises that has come up through the testimonies are real. Though in Barguna, the presence of arsenic in is not found yet, but salinity is increasing. The government wants to build a water plant to supply that water to more not getting enough land 7 upazilas of Barguna to install this water plant, he added.

The participants urgently demanded timely initiatives on the basis of region-based crisis, considering the advantages and disadvantages of local people as a priority to ensure the supply of water for everyone and daily activities.

The guests said, this Water Parliament has provided an opportunity to learn directly from affected communities how the insecurity of fresh water is affecting other basic rights of the coastal communities of Bangladesh. As climate change continues to exacerbate water insecurity around the world, it is imperative that we listen to the voices of those most affected and take action to address this crisis. The WaterMove Campaign and other organizations working on water security are dedicated to ensuring that communities have access to safe and clean water, and we must support their efforts to create a sustainable future for all.








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