June 27, 2023

Here’s a Look at the Water Crises That Might Be Coming to You Soon

Bangladesh, a river delta nation, is on the front line of climate change. Its coping strategies could offer lessons for the wider world.




This article was originally published by The New York Times. An excerpt has been reposted below.

Bangladesh is a land of water. Its silty rivers rush down from the Himalayas, spill into a filigreed maze of ponds, wetlands and tributaries before emptying into the blustery, black Bay of Bengal.

Now, its most profound threat is water, in its many terrible incarnations: drought, deluge, cyclones, saltwater. All are aggravated to varying degrees by climate change, and all are forcing millions of people to do whatever they can to keep their heads above it.

The people of Bangladesh are rushing to harvest rice as soon as they get word of heavy rains upstream.

Sheela Biswas faces the crisis of salinity every single day. Salt has intruded into canals and ponds that her village relies on for drinking and washing. An estimated 30 million people who live along the coast face the problem of saltwater intrusion to varying degrees. The area where Ms. Biswas lives is among the worst hit.

The latest solution to Ms. Biswas’s problem came in the form of a hot pink 2,000-liter plastic water tank, the equivalent of about 530 gallons, with a filter on top. It sits in her courtyard collecting the monsoon rains, one of nearly 4,000 such tanks distributed over the past three years by a development organization, BRAC, that assists the poor.

Read the rest of the article here.