Parul from the banks of Kopotakkho River, Khulna, Bangladesh
A few years ago, the important source for fresh water in this southwest coastal area was through the rivers.
However, the intrusion of saline water from the sea into the islands is increasing salinity and insufficiency of fresh water in the rivers and canals. After the cyclone SIDR (2007) and AILA (2009), both surface water and ground water became salty in this area.
Residents suffered from various skin and stomach diseases. Majority of residents here earn their living through shrimp farming, poultry farming and fishing. Due to the shortage of pure drinking water, they had to travel to distant water sources and hence life becomes difficult for them in many ways.
Parul Begum is a local resident in Shaibbati Poshchim Para staying with her husband Saraf Sana and their 11-year-old daughter Khushi. In recent times, their family received a household RWHS (Rain Water Harvesting System) plant from the climate resilience project funded by HSBC and WaterAid.
After the cyclone SIDR (2007) and AILA (2009), both surface water and ground-water became salty in this area. So, the RWHS plant aimed to store, preserve the rainwater and harvest it so it can be consumed as pure drinking water. Also, the harvested rainwater is being used in their poultry farm partially to ensure the health of the poultry animals which is a source of income for them. Furthermore, the water from harvested rain is also used in shrimp farming.
Now, Parul does not have to go faraway places to collect water – she can easily work and look after her household and the farms. Hitherto, Khushi did not have to help her mother and travel 2-3 kilometers distance and collect water for their household skipping her school; now she can attend her school on time and do what children at her age does, play, learn and have fun.