Safe Drinking Water in Bangladesh

Project Team

Lutgarde Raskin – University of Michigan,Civil and Environmental Engineering
Kim Hayes – University of Michigan, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Raghav Reddy - University of Michigan, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Doctoral student)
Tara Webster - Cornell University 

Additional U-M Collaborators

Arun  Agrawal - University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainabiltiy

External Partners

Asia Arsenic Network – Jessore, Bangladesh

Project Summary

Ensuring safe drinking water for all is a major challenge in Bangladesh where more than 70 million people are estimated to be affected by arsenic contamination of their drinking water sources. Despite significant efforts since the 1980s to install tube wells that draw from deeper uncontaminated aquifers and to employ arsenic removing water treatment systems, much of the targeted populace still lacks access to safe drinking water. Where safe water supply systems have been installed, challenges associated with maintenance, ownership, and monitoring limit the systems’ long-term sustainability.
With primary support from the Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan faculty and students and partners from the Bangladeshi non-governmental organization (NGO) Asia Arsenic Network and Cornell University are conducting an integrated assessment (IA) which asks:
What are the major factors limiting the long-term sustainability of safe water supply systems in Bangladesh, and what intervention options can effectively address them?
The project will look at social, technical, economic, and environmental aspects involved in 1) ensuring water supply and 2) monitoring water quality. The IA aims to assess approaches that mitigate factors limiting the long-term sustainability of safe water supply systems and make recommendations to assist Bangladeshi NGOs, local and national policy makers, and international donor agencies in ensuring safe drinking water access.
This project received a $300,000 Integrated Assessment Grant in 2015.