A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO SCALE-UP SAFE WATER ACCESS CONSIDERING HYDROGEOLOGICAL SUITABILITY AND USING SOCIAL ASPECTS IN MATLAB, SOUTHEASTERN BANGLADESH
Piezometers installed at 15 locations over an area of 410 km2, using local boring techniques allowed to delineate the hydrostratigraphy, characterize the aquifers in terms of sedimentary properties and water chemistry, hydraulic head distribution, which ultimately led to the identification of the aquifers suitable for tapping safe groundwater using local technology. The piezometer locations with safe drinking water quality were then targeted and considering safe buffer distances, clusters of villages (mauzas) were intervened for safe tubewell installation. Social mapping of all the villages within the mauzas were done using GIS to evaluate the availability of safe water options for all clusters of households (bari). For safe well installations, priority was given to the baris with no/poor safe water access, greater number of beneficiaries especially poor households, and easy access to the tubewell site from all households of the respective cluster. Following this method, it was thus possible to make 95% of the newly installed wells As-safe and scaled up the safe water access in some mauzas even from 0 to 40 percent.
As a strategy to improve safe water access, this study recommends investigating the hydrogeological suitability through installation of a few piezometers with a minimum effort and based on the results the implementation plan can be made using GIS based social mappings for relatively uniform distribution and to maximize the safe water access.