A Practical Approach for Determining Water Supply, Sanitation ...

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Abstract

Both climate variability and extreme weather events impose multifarious challenges within Bangladesh, such as freshwater scarcity, sea level rise, riverbank erosion, floods, drought, and salinity. While these challenges have a multidimensional impact on human lives, health, and environment, access to safe drinking water is a grave concern that requires urgent attention. Although multiple projects have been implemented to address communities’ water vulnerability and reduce health impacts, the effectiveness of those water supply projects in ensuring safe water and reducing vulnerability remains yet unknown. The World Health Organization has adopted and utilized a tool prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), known as the vulnerability reduction assessment (VRA) tool to assess climate change vulnerability as well as water vulnerabilities. This tool is useful for identifying baseline risk and vulnerability, as well as adaptive capacity. Moreover, it generates vulnerability scores based on the perception of the participant and by involving a wide range of people, which is the specialty and strength of this tool. Thus, the overall objective of this study is to assess the practical applicability of the VRA tool to know water supply and sanitation vulnerabilities. The specialty of this study is the quantitative determination of vulnerabilities from qualitative information such as overall vulnerability at the national level, which was 1.60 at the initial level, whereas the final VRA score is 2.88. The final VRA scores of Mathbaria, Shyamnagar, and national level are 2.10, 2.95, and 2.88, respectively. Findings indicate that the tool and workshop framework effectively determine the vulnerability of communities quantitatively.