No scarcity but BD fails to ensure water rights

Scarcity of water, for which the women walk for miles in Khulna, Satkhira and Jashore to collect, has forced them to travel all the way down to Dhaka on World Water Day so that their struggle over safe drinking water doesn't go unnoticed. The photo of pitchers upside down was taken from the Jatiya Press Club in the capital on Friday.

Staff Reporter  :
Participants at the roundtable on World Water Day said that though Bangladesh boasts abundant drinkable water, the nation continues to face deprivation of water rights due to various challenges.

They further emphasised that safe water is essential for enhanced living standards and livelihoods.

The event, organised by the Environment and Climate Change Movement and the Center for Human Rights Development, took place at the National Press Club on Friday on occasion of the United Nations’ World Water Day.

The discussion was presided over by Engineer M Abdus Sohban also the President of Environment and Climate Change Movement while it was moderated by its General Secretary Fardous uzzal.

Prominent speakers at the roundtable included public health expert Dr. Mostaq Hussain, President of Lalmatia Housing Society School and College Akmal Hossain, member secretary of Centre for Human Rights Development Mahbul Haque and Advocate Tanayia Nahar of the Supreme Court.

In the concept paper of the roundtable, M. Abdus Sobhan stated that since 1993, this day has been observed worldwide.

Various water-related issues such as water scarcity, pollution, access to safe water, sanitation problems, and conservation efforts are highlighted globally on this day, he underscored.

“Water is one of our most valuable resources and is indispensable for life on earth, including food production.


Whether it’s rivers, lakes, or oceans, water is essential for infrastructure, agriculture, industry, and human well-being,” he said. This year’s theme is “Water for Peace”.

According to UN data, currently, 2.2 billion people worldwide are deprived of clean drinking water, and this number is increasing steadily.

By 2050, the world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion, and global water demand will increase by 30 per cent. Currently, 70 per cent of water is used in agriculture, primarily for irrigation, 20 per cent in industry, especially for cooling and production, and only 10 per cent for domestic purposes, with less than one percent being safe drinking water.

Abdus Sobhan further stated, “Access to water is a fundamental human right. Water can create peace, but it can also create conflict. When there is a lack of water or it is contaminated, or when people lack access to it, tensions can rise within communities and between countries.”

“It is imperative for us to work together to conserve our most valuable resource. Cooperation in addressing shared challenges related to water is crucial. To build a more peaceful and prosperous world for everyone, we must use water as a tool for peace,” he said.

Dr. Mostaq Hossen, a public health specialist, remarked, “Water is a vital necessity for us and for all living beings and nature. However, the scarcity of safe water leads to numerous problems and crises. Various organs of the human body such as kidneys, liver, and heart can be severely affected.”

“Due to the scarcity of safe water, most people in the city of Dhaka suffer from various health problems, including gastrointestinal issues,” he said.
He further emphasised that the water crisis affecting our lives is not limited to national boundaries; it is a global issue.

Akmal Hossain stated that the water bodies of our country have been deteriorating for ages. The diversity of our flora and fauna has also declined due to the lack of safe water sources.