Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The World Bank (WB) is providing support to Government of Bangladesh to increase the supply of safe water in rural areas.

The  Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP) aims to construct rural piped water supply schemes as well as non-piped water supply options in rural areas where shallow aquifers are highly contaminated by arsenic and other pollutants such as salinity, iron, and bacterial pathogens. 

The WB is providing about US$75.0 million for the Bangladesh Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (BRWSSP). The project is scheduled to end in 2017, a WB statement said in Dhaka on Sunday.

Though the national rural water supply coverage in Bangladesh is estimated to be 97%, issues with water quality and in particular arsenic contamination have significantly lowered this figure to an estimated 83% (Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2009 by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF).

A recent World Bank team jointly reviewed the project implementation status and urged the implementing agency – Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) to speed up the construction of main infrastructures critical to improve safe water supply in Arsenic contaminated areas.

After an initial delay, DPHE has now accelerated efforts towards increasing access to safe water supply and hygienic sanitation services in rural areas.  DPHE has appointed Institute of Water Modeling for conducting feasibility studies, engineering design and supervision of the construction of proposed rural piped water supply schemes.

The project has also initiated the work for community mobilization, action plan preparation and baseline survey for non-piped water supply options. The piped water supply schemes in villages will to increase safe water access as well as address the gaps in improved sanitation coverage in rural areas.

The project is also supporting the improvement in hygienic sanitation services through community mobilization, hygiene promotion, incentive grants and capacity enhancement of local small entrepreneurs in selected areas.

BBN/SSR/AD-09Mar14-11:30 am (BST)