Developing an Integrated Wastewater Management Plan for Coastal Bangladesh

Coastal region of Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change and the cities are becoming densely populated due to in-migration from rural interiors. Having more than 700 rivers, water is one of the most vibrant resource of Bangladesh. But rapid urbanization and climate change is threatening the access to good quality water for drinking as well as for irrigation. Recent World Bank study on the effect of climate change on Bangladesh estimated that river irrigation area will decrease by 29.7 percent and increase in soil salinity may reduce the high-yielding rice production by 15.6 percent which is a bigger threat for the economic development of this region.

Wastewater re-use for multiple purposes is becoming popular for the optimum utilization of water resources. But in Bangladesh this trend is yet to be realized due to a number of reasons including inadequate knowledge on reuse practice, inadequacy of wastewater infrastructure, policy regulations, wastewater quality etc. It has been estimated that the urban areas of Bangladesh generates over 725 million m3 of wastewater which goes to the open water without any treatment. This practice is not only destroying the ecosystem of the waterbodies but also ignoring the hidden potential of wastewater. As peri-urban areas of coastal Bangladesh are in dire need for alternative irrigation sources an opportunity emerges to investigate the potential of re-using wastewater in the context of the study area. An in-depth research to identify the wastewater quality, feasible treatment system, societal perception, policy and regulations, governance structure is needed to formulate an integrated wastewater management plan focusing safe re-use.

So the aim of this project is to develop a sustainable wastewater management plan integrating risk mitigation strategies for safe re-use in agriculture.