Rozina Begum’s tin-roofed house in Uttar Chandpai village in Mongla upazila is surrounded by water on three sides. Yet excessive salinity has rendered the water unfit for use in cooking or drinking.
Every day middle-aged Rozina walks three kilometres from her home to fetch water from a river even for cooking the family’s meals. And she has to buy saline-free drinking water.
“There have been days we passed without eating rice as there was no water to cook it,” said Rozina as she narrated her miseries to the UNB correspondent this week in her Chandpai village of the upazila.
She said her poor family also spends up to Tk 30 to 40 to collect the day’s drinking water.
Rozina’s neighbours Fuljaan Bibi, Khalil Mia, Haoa Begum, Mukul Molla and Dulal Sheikh have similar tales of water woes to share.
An invasion of saline sea water has made the sweet water in ponds, canals and other water bodies of the district’s coastal villages unfit for any use. Salinity higher than the permissible limit has been found in underground water too, making it difficult for the villagers to use well water.
Up to 85 per cent of the district’s population have now little access to sweet drinkable water, according to studies. Diseases related to long-time excessive use of saline water have also become a big problem.
Many are turning to harvesting rainwater with the technology being provided by NGOs like Brac.