Bangladesh ranks 10th highest risk country in Asia Pacific in Covid-19 water security risk rating, proving that clean water and sanitation are still beyond the reach of the mass population.
Asian Development Bank published a report titled "Covid-19 and Water in Asia and the Pacific" on Saturday, indicating that water security in Bangladesh needs to be improved through continuous groundwater monitoring and proper hygiene facilities. It included the "Asia Pacific Covid-19 Water Security Risk Index" where Bangladesh scored 15.3 out of 25.
It suggests that Bangladesh is at extremely high risk of pandemic vulnerability due to poor scores in all its temporal water related risk elements, and the country is off-track in meeting SDG-6 (Ensure access to water and sanitation for all).
Even though water security has no direct relationship with Covid-19 containment, it implies that provision of clean water is essential to survive and recover from any sort of pandemics in the future.
Bangladesh's ability to recover after the pandemic also depend on agricultural self-sufficiency, agricultural water security and environmental governance. The index further indicated that Bangladesh might face a shortage of water for irrigation in the future.
According to the FAO, more than 79 percent of irrigation in Bangladesh is currently done through extraction of groundwater from underground aquifers, and the annual average rate of groundwater depletion is facing an increasing rate over time.
The ADB report also suggests that there remain significant barriers to achieving access to sustainable water and sanitation in developing countries like Bangladesh. These including lack of financing, low technical capability, poor regulation and governance, and systematic discrimination of marginalized populations.
To improve the water sector in Asia and Pacific, ADB suggests adopting technologies that are not only cost-effective, but also can add the most value. However, it will require large investments and innovative methods for water and sanitation services such as decentralization and employing nature-based solutions.