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Groups Invested in the Problem

Page history last edited by mcarthrd@dukes.jmu.edu 10 years, 5 months ago


 

Stakeholders

 

     Many individuals are affected by the water crisis facing Bangladesh, but depending on the location and type of group each individual can be affected in different ways. In addition, each group has different levels of influence and goals. Influence can include factors such as organization and monetary availability. The main invested groups include the urban population, the rural population, the Bangladesh government, and international aid organizations. These groups are described below and their interactions are displayed in figure 6.

 

Urban Population

     This stakeholder group encompasses all of the Bangladeshi people who live in cities, such as all who live in the capital of Dhaka. The biggest contributors to surface water pollution come from the urban slums. In addition, the urban slums are the densely populated impoverished regions who need access to better water the most. The urban population currently has limited access points to groundwater and uses a small amount of surface water for daily activities that do not include consumption. The population is highly concentrated per square mile and is not under the farming profession. The interest in the water problem lies mainly in access to water and water infrastructure.  Their organization as a group is very weak, however they would have power as a collective body if they organized. Their main goal is to have consistent and safe water sources. As a group, they are affected by this problem because they are the ones that live within the country of Bangladesh and deal with the water issues on a daily basis. Their progress toward their goal can be measured by the percentage of the urban population that has access to safe water throughout the year.  Currently they are taking little to no action.

 

Rural Population

     The rural population currently has problems with a shrinking groundwater supply and a resulting intrusion of salt water. They are a dispersed group who are largely in the farming profession. Their organization as a group is very weak, however they would have power as a collective body if they organized. This population is responsible for growing the majority of the food for the country; therefore the government is more active in dealing with their needs and problems. For example, the tubewell testing was done by the government for the rural population. The progress toward their goal can be measured by the quality of water sources available to the rural populations which can be evaluated in the form of water testing. Currently they are taking little to no action. As a group, they are affected by this problem because they are the ones that live within the country of Bangladesh and deal with the water issues on a daily basis.    

 

The urban and rural population can be further subdivided into coastal and inland populations. The coastal region of Bangladesh is important to note since it comprises 32% of the total landmass of the country (Islam, 2004). In addition, the coastal population will be the first and hardest hit by climate change within the country. Further information on this group can be found here: Coastal Region Information.  The inland population does not have any problems specific to it, other than the ones stated in the urban and rural areas; it is just noted that this area is not being affected further by the problems plaguing.

 

Bangladesh Government

     Their interest lies mainly in meeting the needs of the people. They also have an interest in increasing the economic growth of the country as a whole so that Bangladesh can become more developed. The government's organization has recently become stronger as it has become more established. While they are organized, they have a small amount of funding to make a big impact on the problem.  In addition, it is a newly formed government with the most recent structural and electoral change being in 2009 when the prime minister was elected. The government has taken some initiative with water by creating the Bangladesh Water Development Board and the Water Resources Planning Organization. However, these have had little to no impact on the country as a whole.

 

International Aid Organizations

     This stakeholder group includes various NGO’s, non-profits, and the UN. Their interest lies in improving quality and access of water, researching the water issue facing the country, and distributing this research to the international community. In terms of the amount of power this group has, there are multiple forms of organizations with varying degrees of influence.  These groups have separate interests.  They have some political influence but are most successful when it comes to research, awareness, and aid. Current actions and achievements have mainly come in the form of research and case studies. Extensive testing has been done for this research which is then available for the international community as well as Bangladesh. Bangladesh is an interesting case study for many of the water issues such as arsenic. They need help from these organizations because they cannot help themselves due to extreme poverty.

 

More information on the groups who give aid to Bangladesh can be found here: Breakdown of International Aid

 

Below is a visual and written depiction of how all these groups interact and what needs to happen for change to begin. However, figure 6 represents an ideal scenario and the reality is much different. Currently, money is not available for government water aid programs and water infrastructure which are necessary for safe water to increase. The beneficial interactions shown below thus become stagnant and/or reversed. International aid programs and funding are available but these efforts are going towards a wide array of issues and not focused just on the water crisis. In addition, corruption within the government halts some money from flowing to its intended locations. For instance, Bangladesh has been named one of the top corrupt countries consistently by Transparency International.  For more information on corruption within the country see the following links:

 

 

 

Figure 6. Interactions of the Invested Groups

 

Analysis of Figure 6 

 

     As government aid programs related to water increase throughout the country based on initiatives by the Bangladesh Government, funding will be distributed to local regions. These local governments will allocate the funds to local water infrastructure in the form of waste water treatment, distribution and underground sewage lines. This will increase the amount of jobs in the country since an industry will pop up that needs design, implementation and maintenance. Increased jobs will lead to economic growth in the country which will allow more funding for government aid programs. The main issue with this loop is that there is no initial funding to kick start the government aid programs related to water. 

     Expanding water infrastructure will also help the urban population because it will lead to increased availability of safe water which can be used for drinking and daily activities. The quality of life for the overall urban population in regards to decreased sickness and time spent retrieving water will thus benefit as well. With increased health and available time, a growth in the workforce will follow. This available workforce along with an increase in jobs due to the water infrastructure will provide economic growth of the country, tying back into more funding for government aid programs. 

     The increased availability of safe water  will also benefit the rural population  with a supply of clean irrigation water. This will lead to an increased crop yield in the dry season because of decreased use of salt water and bacteria infested water. The rise in crop yields will produce more agricultural jobs which will increased the workforce demand. The employment rate will rise as a result of increased workforce demand which will lead to a decreased poverty rate. The decreased poverty rate will result in an overall better quality of life for the rural population, tying back into the economic growth cycle. 

     Natural disasters will play a large role in determining the amount of foreign aid allocated to Bangladesh. Global attention and concern will increase as a result of natural disasters in the country. Natural disasters  are widespread in Bangladesh and may increase in the future due to climate change. If global concern is present for Bangladesh, there will be a increase in research and fundraising efforts by NGO's, the UN and other international aid foundations. This funding will be given directly to the Bangladesh government, or will be used in local water infrastructure changes. If the funding is given to the Government it  may decrease the Government's initiative to develop water aid programs since the money is coming from foreign aid. However, in some cases the international aid may go directly towards local water infrastructure in which case the Government's efforts may not be affected but helped. 

     Unfortunately, these interactions among the invested groups are only ideal scenarios. The national funding is not there to jump start the cycle. While Bangladesh receives billions of dollars a year in foreign aid, it is used for other important issues in the country besides water. 

 

Additional Information

 

     A majority of Bangladesh's water flows from India. This upstream relationship is important to consider when discussing the quality of water in Bangladesh. There are long standing treaties that exist between India and Bangladesh about the use of water and little tension exists currently. Our team has chosen to remain focused on Bangladesh only but recognizes that India is a contributing factor to the problem, especially going into the future. More information on the relationship between India and Bangladesh can be found using the following links:

 


 

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