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Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:40 PM


AHMED, Kazi Matin1, BHATTACHARYA, Prosun2, HASAN, M. Aziz3, RAHMAN, M. Zillur4, VON BRÖMSSEN, Mattias2, JACKS, Gunnar5, HOSSAIN, Mohammed5, ISLAM, M. Mainul6, RAHMAN, Marina7 and RASHID, Nazhat Shirin1, (1)Department of Geology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, 1000, Bangladesh, (2)KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group, Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Teknikringen 76, Stockholm, SE-10044, Sweden, (3)Department of Geology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1000, Bangladesh, (4)Department of Geology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1000, Bangladesh, (5)KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group, Dept of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 76, Stockholm, SE-10044, Sweden, (6)NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, 4/6, Block-E, Lalmatia, Dhaka, 1207, (7)Sasmit, NGO Forum for Public Health, 4/6, Block-E, Lalmatia, Dhaka, 1207, Bangladesh,

Bangladesh has been looking for a sustainable arsenic mitigation strategy to manage the natural drinking water disaster which exposes millions of people to health risks of various magnitudes. There has been recent publications alarming large number of deaths due to cancer alone if the disaster is not properly managed. However local scale heterogeneities in geology, hydrogeology, socio-economic status, etc makes it difficult to come out with national level strategy with unified options for management and mitigation. Experiences from local studies by Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden, Columbia University, USA and JICA came out with options found locally by taking into considerations the local scale geological variability and involvement of the local community. However, recent investigations by JICA/DPHE showed a large number of areas with high percentage of arsenic contaminated drinking wells (>80%) have very little coverage of safe water (<20%). This needs immediate attention to overcome future health catastrophes.

Matlab in south east Bangladesh is such an area where contamination is very high still the safe water coverage is very poor. A number of programs by DPHE and BRAC and MIDP have installed a large number of deep wells in the area. However, these wells by and large cannot increase the safe water coverage because of not considering important socio-economic factors into considerations. Also not all of the wells are not providing safe water as geology and hydrogeology has not been considered at all in sitting the well screen. There are problems of quality (chloride, manganese and iron) and quantity. Under the SASMIT project we take an integrated approach to site our wells in order to ensure the quality and quantity of water and also to make sure the wells are located in the area where there is low coverage of safe water options. We undertook series of geological, hydrogeological and social mapping in order to locate optimum locations for community wells. We consider that the Matlab Strategy followed by SASMIT can be replicated in other parts of the country in order to optimize the location of wells for providing safe water.

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