Rising sea levels in Bangladesh

Rising sea levels mean that increasingly freshwater supplies are becoming salinated, leaving poor communities without a safe water supply. Christian Aid partner Pani Parishad have worked to provide rain harvesters to villages in Bangladesh.

Perched on a muddy riverbank, Farida and her family may not only lose their home and small plot of land to rising sea levels, but also cannot use the local water as it has increasingly turned salty as sea water seeps into the freshwater supply. The salinated water is also ruining fishing and agricultural conditions.

Through Pani Parishad, and with the support of water council coordinators, villagers have become aware of their right to clean safe water and learned how to safely harvest and store rainwater through ‘ring tank’ water harvesters. As a result of this new forum, the newly empowered and confident villagers, especially the women, are also beginning to address how best to help neighbours who lose their homes to the river and how best to deal with the wider issue of river erosion in the future. Villagers now grow their vegetables on suspended bamboo and jute structures and feed the plants with rainwater, so that they are not contaminated with the salinated water.

The Pani Parishad also secured funding for a brick road to replace the dangerous mud paths that have served until now and have built a Pani Parishad centre which also doubles up as a pre-school for the young children of the village.