Over 21 million people in Bangladesh lack access to an improved water source.

38% don't have access to improved sanitation in Bangladesh, over 66 million people.

Over 4,100 children under five years old die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation in Bangladesh.

The MDG target for water for Bangladesh is to reach 89% coverage by 2015. The Government of Bangladesh has set targets of safe drinking water and sanitation for all by 2011 and 2013 respectively.

According to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), water supply coverage increased from 78% in 1990 to 98% in 2006. However, Arsenic contamination of 22% of the tube-wells in the country proportionately lowered the service coverage to 78%. Since then progress in the increase of arsenic-safe water points in the country led to an adjusted coverage of 80% in 2006. The latest (2009) BBS Multiple Indicator Survey (MICS) reveals that access to improved source of water adjusted for arsenic contamination has increased to 86%. Today there is still more than 20 million people drinking water containing arsenic above the Bangladesh drinking water standard (50 parts per billion). Of those 20 million, close to 90% live in rural areas and 5 million people live in areas where 80% of source is contaminated with arsenic.

Increasing saline intrusion in ground water in the coastal belt, lowering of the ground water level in large parts of the country - more serious in the hilly areas including the CHT in the south east and some parts of Sylhet in the north-east make access to potable water a big challenge. The seasonal nature of settlement and the monsoon flood in the Chars renders access of reliable water in these conditions a particular challenge. Rapid urbanisation, water logging, deep rooted poverty and other factors prevent market forces from reaching all the users.

Poor families in urban towns live in slums, squatter settlements in un-hygiene and unendurable environment. The population density in the slums is 200 times greater than the usual density of Bangladesh and basic services like safe drinking water, sanitation, and drainage are grossly inadequate. With the high density of population and continued urban migration of more people, the task of providing safe drinking water has become a monumental challenge for major urban centres.