Community Perception and Adaptation to Safe Drinking Water Scarcity: Salinity, Arsenic, and Drought Risks in Coastal Bangladesh

Md Anwarul Abedin, Umma Habiba, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most serious resource and health issues in coastal communities of Bangladesh is the scarcity of safe drinking water, triggered by the combined effects of salinity, arsenic, and drought. This article explores community perception of vulnerabilities in daily life, livelihood, and environment, and investigates how communities and institutions cope with or adapt to drinking water scarcity. This study outlines community expectations for support from government and nongovernment organizations to overcome this problem. The findings reveal that nearly all respondents from the drinking water scarcity area perceive that salinity is the primary reason for the lack of safe drinking water compared to arsenic and drought hazards. Despite a number of socioeconomic factors and a geographical location that aggravates the coastal communities’ vulnerability, these communities have established their own adaptation mechanism to cope with this crisis. Government and nongovernment organizations have also supported community efforts to cope with the problem. By emphasizing both community adaptation methods and efforts of institutions, this article illustrates an integrated community-based approach, which would be effective for reducing drinking water scarcity in the southwestern coastal region of the country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-124
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Community adaptation
  • Community perception
  • Safe drinking water
  • Southwestern Bangladesh
  • Water scarcity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Safety Research
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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