KTH-Ramböll participates in the design of a UNICEF Water Safety Program for Bangladesh
Although Bangladesh has made progress towards achieving its goal of access to improved water supply, significant challenges remain in terms of quality and sustainability of the water supply. About 65% of the population lack access to drinking water that is arsenic safe and free from microbial contamination.
Naturally occurring arsenic is widely abundant in Bangladesh groundwater systems and today more than 40 million people are drinking water with arsenic concentrations exceeding WHOs guideline values for drinking water.
The objective of KTH mission is to assist Sida to integrate strategies for sustainable arsenic mitigation developed by the SASMIT project coordinated by KTH in an UNICEF Water Safety Program for Bangladesh. The initiative to the program comes from UNICEF and Swedish Sida jointly and UNICEF is aiming at beginning the interventions during 2017. The design of the program is done in close collaboration with UNICEF Bangladesh and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Ramboll Foundation has previously funded a research program on high arsenic groundwater in Bangladesh and is recognized for their support.
The objective of the program is to support the Government of Bangladesh in responding to the drinking water safety challenges in Bangladesh. The program will seek to respond to the water quality challenges within a water safety and water management framework with the objective of mitigating the negative impacts of water contamination on health.
We are working closely with the UNICEFs water quality and water supply teams to design a program of support with relevant ministries and government institutions and NGOs to strengthen the institutional systems in the public and private water sector.
Because of the magnitude of the arsenic problem and the infrastructural situation, sustainable strategies to be scaled up should involve steps to develop capacity at local governmental institutions and to develop capacity of the private sector, which is contributing to 90% of the tubewell installations in the country, are top priorities.
Professor Prosun Bhattacharya, KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group, Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Dr. Mattias von Brömssen, Head of Department Water Resources, Ramböll Sweden AB, Stockholm, Sweden.
UNICEF- DPHE-KTH-Ramböll-Sida- Joint Field Work 17-18 May 2016