Bangladesh has made significant achievements in the sectors of water and sanitation, but proper management of the source of the water is required for sustainable development of these two sectors. This is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
This was highlighted by speakers at the launching programme of the project on water and sanitation management, ‘Watershed: Empowering Citizens’. The programme was organised by the international agency Water Aid at the Spectra Convention Centre in Gulshan of the capital city. Supported by the Netherlands government, Water Aid is implementing the project with two non-government organisations.
Speaking as chief guest at the programme, the Netherlands ambassador to Bangladesh Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere said collaboration of non-government organisations with the government is essential to achieve the targets for safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation as set in SDG-6. The people must be heard. Their opinions must be taken into consideration.
Director general of the Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO) Mohammed Sharafat Hossain Khan said, “People’s access to water has increased over the last few decades. However, we are becoming more and more dependent on groundwater. About 80 per cent of ground water goes to irrigation. And 10 percent goes to the household and industrial sectors.”
He said, “In the dry season water availability goes down by two-thirds. Due to climate change this is likely to fall by another one-third by 2050. That is why proper management of the water sources is now essential.”
Head of Water Aid in Bangladesh Khairul Islam said, if all people are to be involved in development, then it must be ensured that the voice of the marginalised people is heard at the centre. People must find a place to speak out about their rights.”
Also speaking on the occasion were additional director general of the Water Development Board Mohammed Mahfuzur Rahman, senior programme officer of Simavi Sara Ahrari, Water Aid’s programme and advocacy department director Liaqat Ali and others.