WASH: Preventing Worsening Water Scarcity in Bangladesh


Humanity, as living beings, needs water to survive. We need water to drink to survive. We need water for our crops and livestock to eat and earn a living. Yet, in so many parts of the world, communities struggle to find clean water. Especially in countries like Bangladesh, where water comes from a faraway source and families spend days seeking it from sources that may not be clean in the first place.

Historically, Bangladesh has been a water-rich nation. Home to a network of hundreds of rivers, the country boasts the world’s largest river delta, the Ganges Delta. But climate change and increasingly polluted waterways have left Bangladesh in a worsening water crisis.

Climate change takes its toll on Bangladesh

As the climate crisis worsens, Bangladesh faces a disastrous future of unpredictable rainfall and major flooding. In June this year, a massive flood killed at least 22 people in Bangladesh and stranded another 4 million. Yet, reports have shown rainfall rates in Bangladesh have only fallen each year in the past two decades, a worrying decline that has been noted since the early 1950s. Crops and poorly built housing and infrastructure cannot thrive in these uncertain weather conditions.

Photo: The effects of climate change continue to give the people of Bangladesh strife

The geographical makeup of Bangladesh has also left its population highly vulnerable to sea-level rise. As global warming continues to contribute to rising sea levels, many more Bangladeshis will be without homes and clean water as groundwater and surface water father inland become saltier as a result.

Millions of people in Bangladesh are without a reliable water supply

In addition to rising sea levels making natural water resources in Bangladesh undrinkable, these reserves are also severely polluted. Bangladesh’s rocks contain high levels of the poisonous substance arsenic, which leaches naturally into groundwater and contaminates irrigated crops and soils. Some 29 million people in Bangladesh have been found to be exposed to arsenic, mostly from contaminated shallow wells that constitute the backbone of the country’s rural water supply.

Sanitation is also an issue. Millions of litres of untreated sewage and industrial wastewater is is often released into surface waters and rivers across Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city, alone each day. A 2019 survey coordinated by Bangladesh’s government and the United Nations children’s charity UNICEF also concluded that 82% of the population is exposed to water contaminated with the bacteria, E.coli. Bangladesh urgently needs a solution to ensure its populations are able to access the clean water they deserve.

Islamic Relief Australia is launching a WASH Program to help the people of Bangladesh

Islamic Relief Australia is launching a WASH Program (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) to help grant the people of Bangladesh their right to clean water and good health. WASH is an important aspect of any holistic development initiative and is recognised as part of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). Having access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities are important building blocks for further development initiatives such as education, health, nutrition, and livelihoods.

Photo: Through WASH, Islamic Relief provides even hard-to-reach areas in Bangladesh with facilities that help reduce water-related health vulnerabilities for poor families and communities.  

Currently, Islamic Relief Australia is working closely with our branch in Bangladesh, to solve the nation’s chronic water and sanitation problems. This includes building stronger water wells that reach and grant better access to sanitation and hygiene benefits for more communities across Bangladesh.

Islamic Relief is building sustainable water wells in Bangladesh

Islamic Relief is committed to building better quality, more sustainable, safer and more durable wells across Bangladesh, even in hard-to-reach areas.

The quality of our wells standout above other charities for being rigorously checked, flood-proof and extremely long-lasting. In building wells, we also ensure that communities have a complete WASH solution that includes hygiene training, toilet facilities and clean water. Our water well price includes the construction of a toilet for the community, as well as hygiene kits and training on maintaining good hygiene.

Globally there are 2.3 billion people without sanitation facilities and 844 million people without access to safe and clean drinking water. We cannot solve the water crisis by simply drilling wells and installing low-quality water pumps. Vulnerable communities in countries like Bangladesh deserve long-term water solutions that help them achieve a brighter future.

In the words of the Prophet (PBUH), “The best charity is giving water to drink.” (Ahmad)

Build a water well in Bangladesh

Help provide clean drinking water for people in need today.