Viewpoint – taking a multidimensional approach to small town water supply: The case of Paikgachha
ABSTRACT: Ensuring access to safe drinking water in climate-vulnerable southwest Bangladesh is a growing challenge. People living in the coastal municipality town of Paikgachha in Khulna District are suffering from an acute crisis of drinking water due to contamination of groundwater by salinity, iron and arsenic. WaterAid Bangladesh piloted a piped water supply model with a progressive tariff approach that brings residents, especially the poor, safe and affordable water, while ensuring financial sustainability of the model. This paper discusses how the multidimensional approach underlying the development of the piped water system successfully addressed the social and institutional dimensions of water supply in a context involving multiple stressors. The initiative has demonstrated that sustainable service with full cost recovery is possible while addressing equity issues in the challenging circumstances of Bangladesh’s coast.
KEYWORDS: water supply, piped water, small town, progressive tariff, sociotechnical approach, Bangladesh